By Nigar Orujova
All services of Azerbaijan’s government agencies will be online by 2020, Communications and High Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov on December 4.
Speaking at the first scientific-practical conference "Problems of construction of e-government" in Baku, he said the number of requests for services provided on the portal of "electronic government" has reaches six million.
The e-government portal was launched in Azerbaijan in 2013. Currently, the portal offers about 400 e-services through 45 government agencies. About one million citizens are active users of e-services of the state agencies, he said.
The minister noted a new state program for the development of information and communication technologies is expected to be approved soon. The main aim of the program is to increase the number of online services.
"Currently, there are a number of important services, which their conversion into electronic form is rather a cumbersome issue, and we have to work on it. First, creating the e-government, the focus should be on those segments of the population, who often face particular difficulties while handling in one or other government agencies. Therefore, our main task today is to provide the general public with access to broadband services, which should also develop," Abbasov stressed.
The new state program is part of the "National Strategy for Information Society Development in Azerbaijan for 2014-2020" approved by the head of state on April 2.
The strategy deals with significant aspects such as construction of the information society, effective use of its advantages by society for development of Azerbaijan, and use of ICT in public administration.
The new program is designed to resolve the problem of "digital divide" between the center and the regions of Azerbaijan. To overcome the "division", some projects would be launched aimed to develop broadband infrastructure and satellite systems.
The greatest importance in the national strategy is attached to strengthening competitiveness and export of products in the field of ICT. Moreover, the development of high technologies including aerospace, nuclear and nanotechnology, biotechnology, electronics are also highlighted.
Moreover, the minister said, Azerbaijan is preparing to move to the platform of mobile e-government.
Abbasov said there is a possibility of deployment of services that citizens can get by using mobile devices via mobile applications.
"Today a number of services are provided through mobile platforms. In addition, to the foreground come e-Gov3.0, the main aim and objective of which is to reveal yet more opportunities and availability of electronic government services to the public and business sector. That is, every citizen or any company will be able to form their own e-government services and in a sense to provide these services on a commercial basis," he added.
This, in turn, contributes to the massive spreading of online services. The agenda, Abbasov went on saying, also includes the issue of introducing the so-called platform SmartGov, which paves the way for shifting of control principle from central government to the people. That is, the population will be involved in the administration and the Ministry is preparing to announce a transition to the new format of e-government e-Gov.3.0 in this regard.
He also noted the dynamic growth of the users of digital signatures. The Certification Centre of the Ministry has already issued approximately 30,000 e-signatures. In addition, 60,000 certificates of mobile e-signature issued by the Certification Center of the Taxes Ministry.
"Currently, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan is also involved in the process," Abbasov added.
Today, the internet penetration rate in Azerbaijan stands at 70 percent. The broadband Internet penetration among the population stands at 50 percent, while the mobile phone penetration stands at 110 percent.
Azerbaijan plans to reach the level of the developed countries by 2017 by increasing the share of broadband internet users to 85 percent.