By Natalya Datskevych | Posted April 25, 2018.
Historically, getting official paperwork done in Ukraine — or anywhere — doesn’t happen fast. Kyiv city streets are dotted with signs for public notaries but government procedures remain paperbound and bureaucratic.
But times are changing. Europe, the US and Ukraine civil society press the government here to reform. With rising pressure for efficiency and transparency, paperbound bureaucracy increasingly looks very 20th century. Instead politicians, NGO workers and enterprising techies are developing e-government platforms to fight corruption and make government more accessible to citizens.
State Services Move Online
The aim of creating online e-government is not just greater ease, says Alex Vyskub, who works in the State Agency for Electronic Government of Ukraine. Minimizing face-to-face interactions can make corruption and passing bribes a lot more difficult.
Developing platforms and legislation for online governance is the aim of the agency where Vyskub works, created in 2014 in the aftermath of the Euromaidan revolution. Supervised by experts from Estonia, the agency aims to put 100 top-priority government services online by the end of this year. Half will be designed for businesses.
The platform is copied from Estonia’s X-Road. A fellow former Soviet republic, Estonia now is recognized worldwide as a successful pioneer in e-government. In Ukraine, the platform is called ‘Trembita” – after the traditional mountain horn of the Carpathians. Trembita puts key services online. It also provides an online way for government agencies to interact and transparently request information from each other.
Trembita accomplishments include launching online business registration, and making online platforms for social services like subsidies for children.By 2020, the platform will launch an online licensing system for businesses selling alcohol and tobacco. “Of all 100 key services, about 35 to 40 percent [of those supporting businesses] are already operating,” Vyskub says.