Without paperwork

IT electronic queues, one stop shop services and online consultations now a reality
By Tatiana Andreeva

You can now register your business online in Georgia, as well as open a bank account, printing out all necessary documents at home or at Minsk’s special Internet cafй (the only one as yet).

The National Agency of Public Registry of Georgia recently attended a round table discussion in Minsk to share its experience of creating an electronic society in a short space of time. The Head of the Georgian National Agency of Public Registry’s IT Department, Shota Chachkhunashvili, tells us that automation of administrative procedures has saved his country around $200m already, while simplifying life for ordinary citizens. Georgian progress can be judged via the World Bank’s Doing Business-2012 rating, which now places Georgia first in terms of ease of property registration. Additionally, e-government reduces corruption, since computers don’t request bribes. It also boasts second place in the UN rating for ‘Preventing and Fighting Corruption’.

Of course, Georgia’s experience is impressive and a good model for Belarus. Alexander Korzhenevsky, Deputy Director of the Belarusian Institute of System Analysis and Information Support for the Scientific and Technical Sphere, tells us that a similar system was once developed in Belarus. Sadly, despite international experts’ praise, it failed to be launched, as state administration bodies were reluctant to integrate their information into a single system.

In terms of property registration, Belarus is currently ranked 3rd for ‘Doing Business’: an honourable place. “I believe that the State Property Committee and the system of organising state registration are ready for electronic interaction with businesses, citizens and other state agencies,” underlines the Director General of the National Cadastre Agency of the State Property Committee, Andrey Filipenko. “We are demonstrating real success.”

He notes that, via the central register of property, those buying property receive information about the site (to whom it belongs and details of restrictions in the form of mortgage or arrest).

Last year, around 6 million electronic requests were processed via the database. “We’ve been working for the past decade on the integrity of the registry and it’s now providing electronic services,” added the Director General of the National Cadastre Agency.

Undoubtedly, change requires certain resources. In particular, it’s necessary to attract IT specialists, who come at a price. Of course, any injection involves risk, since projects can fail. All state registered organisations in Belarus are republican unitary enterprises: in providing services, they receive profits, which can then be reinvested. Of course, the prices they charge are controlled by the state, while their earnings must only be spent on particular purposes. It’s a system allowing the development of various types of electronic services.

The state lacks enough funds to finance work relating to social informatisation. However, Vladimir Anishchenko, Chairman of the Board of the Infopark Scientific and Technological Association, explains, “The solution is to develop public private partnership, as seen in Georgia, where our colleagues were given the opportunity to self-finance. I think it’s possible to find investors in our country, too.” He adds that another important aspect is the launch of a single identification system for businesses and individuals, within a state framework of public management.

In Georgia, all citizens have chipped ID cards, while high-tech Estonia uses bank cards as valid ID (an initiative proposed and supported by financial institutions). Belarusian experts note the necessity of including a separate article into the budget dealing with informatisation of state bodies, as in Russia.

During a round table discussion, our Georgian colleagues advised Belarus to launch more elements of an information society, by studying the most successful practices of others, applying their experience. “We understand that it’s necessary to start small and build on results,” notes Mr. Chachkhunashvili. “Businesses will certainly support these endeavours.”
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