The Uganda government is making a resounding progress as far of citizens’ access to service delivery is concerned.
This is according to the Minister in Charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mary Karooro Okurut.
Okurut was Thursday addressing Government Communicators, Strategic Partners and other stakeholders gathering at the Méstil Hotel in Kampala for a dialogue organized by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance through Government Citizen Interaction Centre on Open Government.
The Minister said that there are various channels through which citizens interact with the government.
“At this critical moment, the Government of Uganda has made considerable gains towards improving access to service delivery. In pursuit of the Open Governance Agenda, the Ministry of ICT and National guidance established the Government Citizens Interaction Centre (GCIC) as a primary contact centre for citizens. The chief aim was to enhance the monitoring of service delivery and to provide a channel for feedback and suggestions from citizens,” said Okurut.
“Through GCIC, citizens interact with government through multiple channels including a toll-free line (900), email, social media platforms, websites, online chat and SMS. The data generated through these interactions is analyzed to inform policy decisions and guide in the formulation of policy interventions,” explained the Minister.
She said that the significance of the Open Government Initiative is to give citizen access to public information and an opportunity to participate in the proceedings of their government which in turn promotes accountability, transparency and efficiency of government services.
The Minister explained that government agencies such as National Medical Stores have strived to publish medical deliveries in all major newspapers where citizens can be able to track the transit of government drugs and hold medical officers accountable.
On how government is adopting e-governance in delivering services, Okurut said technology has transformed how government interacts with citizens.
“Led by NITA-Uganda, which is the implementing agency for e-services, we have witnessed an increase in uptake for government e-services, a key function which GCIC amplifies to enable increased usage.”
According to the UN e-Government survey of 2018, Uganda’s online service index improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018, which puts the country in the high online service index bracket.
The survey also indicated that Uganda’s e-Government development index (EGDI) improved from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018 which is above the African average of 34%.
“Already, the Government of Uganda is making progress in ensuring automation of service delivery for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Local Governments. Approximately, 248 government websites and 297 Mobile Applications are in place,” said the minister.
“ICT has enabled government to accelerate the use of websites as tools for dissemination of information and service provision. I also commend NITA-U for digitizing gov’t e-services. This has transformed and eased access to service delivery,” she added.
According to the Minister, citizens’ participation in government operations allows government to better understand their true needs and how to appropriately respond to them.
She says through promoting transparency in government operations, a strong foundation is built for desirable use of resources and enhanced efficiency.