E-Governance a Defining Factor in Structural Reform

Lima, Peru, 27 February 2008
E-governance is critical to the ability of an economy to improve government efficiency and transparency, say officials at an APEC Economic Committee (EC) workshop. Developed by Chinese Taipei, the workshop, which contributes to the EC's program for structural reform, drew a close parallel between e-governance and good governance.
Explained Professor Bob Buckle, Economic Committee Chair, "Several economies have attempted to revitalize their public administration and make it more proactive, efficient, transparent and especially more service orientated. One of the most commonly employed tools used to accomplish this transformation is introducing innovations in the way governments mobilize, deploy and utilize Information Communication Technologies."
Yet, while studies indicate that governments are moving forward in e-government development around the world, progress is slow and often disparate. "Within the APEC region, the differences between member economies in terms of e-Government readiness varies," says Buckle. "Many APEC economies rank among the top 35 of the world while others require further work to improve their readiness."
Responding to this fact, the workshop considered the experiences of several economies, including Chinese Taipei whose economy ranked first in e-governance in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
Citizens of Chinese Taipei benefit from on-line serves from payment of tax and tuition to marriage registration. Business opportunities have been extended through the internet and government offices are virtually paperless. Says Dr. Jay N. Shih, the economy's Minister of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, "In the future, citizens will even be able to receive notices of outstanding fees - just like having a personal secretary."
Apart from efficiency and timeliness, Shih emphasizes that e-governance goes further and actually enables good governance. "It engages the public and actually allows government to interact with citizens."
The e-Governance workshop discussed e-Administration for Better Accountability, e-Services for Better Efficiency and Transparency and e-Participation for Better Policy Making.