중앙데일리

‘E-government’ stumbles at its outset

  PLAY AUDIO

May 26,2003
Jung Suk-ja, 29, was venting her anger on civil servants at the Gangnam district office Friday. She had tried for 20 minutes, to no avail, to get her citizen registration document issued from a kiosk in the office. The kiosk was a terminal for the so-called “electronic government system,” established amid much fanfare last year to permit citizens to self-serve necessary procedures. At another kiosk in the Yeoksam-dong office in Gangnam, the registration issuance service has been shut off. “People rarely used the machine, saying it was too difficult, so we closed it,” an official said. In fact, most of the electronic government services so ambitiously launched six months ago are in similar desuetude, the only exception being the business procurement service. “The era has opened where citizens and corporations can enjoy first-grade administrative services with a few mouse clicks,” the government boasted in launching the service through government Web sites last November. The project, which cost 300 billion won ($251 million), is still in its early stage, but is riddled with shortcomings. Faced with the difficulty of use, the selfishness of competing government agencies and services tilted for the convenience of suppliers, hopeful users of the e-government services turn away. Complexity is the biggest complaint. Most users find that it is faster to visit district offices in person or make application by telephone. “I was frustrated at the difficulty in finding guidelines on the Web site on how to get an official certification,” said Kim Byeong-tak, 31, a corporate employee who tried to apply for a citizen registration document. The application requires the user to get an online official certificate confirming his identity. Four agencies were designated by the government to issue the certificates in the form of a computer file. But the procedure requires the user first to visit a bank in person. The procedures are not widely known, and most people are quickly baffled after logging on to the Web site. In November, about 155,000 people a day, on average, logged on to the e-government Web site. Barely a third as many did so last month. In the system’s early stage, about 1,100 applications a day were made for civil services; last month there were just 950 applications a day ― only 0.095 percent of the 3 million sheets of civil documents issued offline every day. When the JoongAng Ilbo polled 3,700 Internet users, only 29 percent knew the address of the electronic government Web site. Thirteen percent of the respondents said they had used the electronic government services in the last three months. Ten frequently needed documents can be issued at the 835 kiosks that have been placed in district offices and train stations, but citizens find them hard to use. At many district offices civil servants wait on people to teach them how to use the machines. Until April, each machine was used an average of 215 times month. A second common complaint is that the services most needed are unavailable due to turf protection by government agencies. Koreans report address changes about 9 million times a year. But these moves cannot be done online. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs opposes the initiative, saying that allowing online reports would lead to fake address transfers. Lack of necessary legislation has been another obstacle. Under current law, documents issued online do not have legal effect; thus, after making applications for civil documents through the Internet, people still have to visit district offices or get valid documents by mail. The key to an online system is a 24-hour operation. But the electronic government is available only during office hours as a result of feud between the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Communication over which agency should run the site. “There is no arbitrator powerful enough to coordinate selfishness among government agencies, which contributes to undermining the effectiveness of the electronic government service,” said Hwang Bo-yeol, professor at the electronic government research center of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. “Electronic government is inevitable to improve government competitiveness,” Suh Sam-young, president of the National Computerization Agency, said. “It is urgently needed to address confusion in the transitional period and to amend legislation and create organizations to provide civil services effectively.” by Special Reporting Team


dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장