Transforming Macedonia Through E-Government
November 10, 2008
Filed under Consumer Privacy
During all the US election news, I missed a good story in the International Herald Tribune on the country of Macedonia's push toward E-Government:
A lucrative annual permit to haul freight across the border between this Balkan country and Greece used to cost Macedonian truckers as much as â‚¬2,500 in bribes per vehicle. But that changed two years ago, when the Ministry of Transport and Communications adopted a computer system to electronically assign licenses. Now truckers pay only about â‚¬100, or about $127, in application fees for a cross-border license. And the annual two-week period for license applications closed in October with no sign of the angry crowds of truckers who used to picket outside government offices here. "We trust the system - we trust the computer," Blagoja Voinov, who owns a dozen 40-ton trucks, said through a translator.I visited Macedonia to speak on promoting E-Government in 2004 via a program sponsored by US AID. At that time, there was a big discussion about the old guard civil servants who had no use for E-Government not so much because it assured them bribe money, but because it outdated their skills as bureaucrats. This is an obstacle that exists in Europe and North America at a more subtle level, but something that will need to be recognized if we are to succeed in promoting E-Government and E-Democracy. I am glad to see that progress was made on some fronts in Macedonia. Now we need to see what we can learn from their experience.