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STATEMENT BY THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER

DR B.SIBUSISO DLAMINI

AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE e-GOVERNMENT SISWATI NAME AND SLOGAN COMPETITION

AT THE CABINET OFFICES, MBABANE

THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER 2017

 

Honourable Ministers

Managing Director of Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications

Corporation

Other esteemed ICT sponsors and stakeholders

Invited Guests

The Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all today to this launch of the e-Government Siswati Name and Slogan Competition.

Six months ago we launched the e-Government Communication Strategy which set the mechanisms used when communicating with citizens and businesses, and the delivery channels for e-Government services.  At the same event we also launched the e-Government logo for ease of identification of e-Government services, available on-line and through the mobile platform.

In order that everyone is on the same page – except that we are aiming for paperless communication! – “on-line” is e-Government and means accessible through the internet, while the “mobile platform” is m-Government, where you can also access information through your cellphone.

Back in 2014 we launched m-Government, the mobile Government services, which made it much easier for citizens and business to track their applications, by simply dialing *468# on the cellphone.  Under this mobile platform, progress can be checked for the status of applications for national ID, travel documents, international passports and temporary residence permits.  The same service was extended to trading and liquor licences.  These services reduced substantially the transaction costs and travel time for our people and the business community. 

Furthermore, access to the services is available 24/7 while, in the meantime, further electronic and mobile services are being deployed across Government and parastatals.  The patient information provided by Client Management System of the Ministry of Health will be available in all health facilities before the end of 2018.  Additionally, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will next year enable transport operators to track the status of applications for public transport permits, both on-line and through the mobile platform.

The e-Government Communication Strategy requires e-Government to contribute to the important objective of inclusive national development, through inclusive engagement that reaches out to all members of society, irrespective of educational or financial status.  The nature of e-Government has to be understood by all, and a valuable technique for achieving that is to have an easily recognizable and comprehensible SiSwati name and slogan, or catch-phrase.  This is very much in harmony with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  For here we will have every segment of society able to appreciate the messages promoting e-Government services that are accessible and affordable to all, and which contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of our country.

Everyone loves a competition, especially where there are prizes to be won, and it is an excellent technique for raising the profile of the e-Government service. An advertisement will be published through the local media and entries can be made through newspaper cut-out or downloading from the Government website.  The winner of the name category will be awarded E20,000 and the slogan category no less than E30,000.

I take this opportunity to commend the e-Government Unit for the progress being made in rolling out the e-Government programme.  And I thank the sponsor of the competition, Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), through which organization some of the e-services will be delivered.  I add our appreciation for the collaboration of SPTC with the e-Government Unit.  In the course of providing its sponsorship, SPTC secured additional assistance from a number of business partners.  I therefore also thank those organisations - Linthus Communications for branding and newspaper advertising design, and the Swazi Observer, Swaziland Shopping and Independent News for advert placement.  

It is now my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to declare the e-Government Siswati Name and Slogan Competition duly launched.

Thank you.

  Today, we are celebrating a defining moment of change as we move to the next level in the programme to apply digital technology to Government processes. In 2013, Government launched the e-Government Strategy 2013 to 2017, which has aimed to improve our public services as much as possible, and with the assistance of ICT.  We need to maintain pace in our developments in the digital sphere while at the same time ensuring that the e-Government foundational requirements are consistently in place and meeting international standards.

The practical impact of the e-Government Strategy, in the first instance, was the launch of the Mobile Government platform, known as *468#, which has allowed citizens and business to track the progress of any one of many kinds of applications made to Government institutions.  This initially involved the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade.  From that base we introduced, across the Ministries, other mobile Government and on-line applications.  These have been working well but, for their more extensive utilization, Government has seen the need to develop a comprehensive communication strategy to promote and market e-Government services. 

In so doing, we will actively expose, to citizens and the business

Community, the benefits brought by the technology.  Creating demand, where none previously existed, is very much the hallmark of the ICT Revolution simply because unfamiliarity with the processes has caused many individuals to overlook adopting them.  As the saying goes - what the eye does not see, the mind does not miss.

 

Hence the launch of the new e-Government Communication Strategy, in which we will be saying that our on-line services allow a transaction to be processed any time – in modern parlance 24/7/365 – or 366 in a leap year! And this will be possible from any location, without having to go to a Government building.   “Anytime and anywhere” is the promise.  It is very difficult to miss that!  We do trust that the very appealing e-Government logo, also being launched today, is of great assistance in conveying the key message about the ICT services available to our people and business community.

Today, two ongoing digital services have been demonstrated to us – the Provisional Company Registration Process, and the Client Management Information System (CMIS).  The latter is part of the e-Health being introduced in Swaziland in accordance with the World Health Assembly resolution of 2005.  The CMIS itself involves the collection of individual medical data to inform the appropriate health care for the patient.  All medical records are stored securely in the CMIS, and the system provides a highly streamlined service with rapid and accurate access to relevant data.  In short, a huge new benefit for patients.

So now is an appropriate time to launch the e-Health Strategy which will, over time, embrace not only the CMIS but also other domains beyond the electronic health records.  Such domains will include extending electronic health care across mobile health services, known as m-Health, tele-health, health research, and e-learning by health workers.  All to improve speed, accuracy and quality in our health services.  Details of the e-Health Strategy are available on the Government website www.gov.sz.

Clearly, the e-Health Strategy will be part of the overall e-Government Strategy 2013 to 2017 which will, itself, be reviewed and updated later this year.

In our e-Government programme, much has been done and much is to come.  Government has in place a catalogue of additional e-services that should be implemented over the coming two years.  We encourage the private sector to explore with the relevant Government agencies the possibilities for public/private partnership to harness the skills of the private sector, and help to provide those further on-line services.

In the meantime, we are pleased to see the Point of Sale facility being introduced today, allowing debit and credit cards to be used for payment of Government services.  Very soon, that will be extended to payment through internet banking and mobile money.

In conclusion may I, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, thank UNDP for the technical assistance in developing the e-Government Communication Strategy and e-Government logo, and hereby declare their launch, together with the e-Health Strategy and Point of Sale.

Thank you.

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