Public discussion: How can we increase the use of digital services in the Republic of Moldova?
The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), in cooperation with GIZ Moldova, the e-Government Agency (AGE) and Privesc.eu, organized on Thursday, September 14, 2023, the public discussion “The degree of use of digital services in the Republic of Moldova: realities, challenges and recommendations”
During the discussion, which was moderated by Mihai Mogildea, Deputy Director at IPRE, key issues related to the development of digital services in the Republic of Moldova, the main challenges in promoting digital services, as well as several recommendations for increasing the use of digital solutions by society were addressed.
In the opening of the event, Angela DUMITRAȘCO, Regional Manager, Project “E-Government and Digitalization in the Eastern Partnership Countries” at GIZ, stated that digital transformation is currently a priority for the Republic of Moldova. “We have become accustomed to the fact that the Government is important and must implement strategies, bring quality services to people. But we also need the other side, the general public, citizens, civil society to get involved in this process, so that we finally could get qualitativedigitalized public services. The degree of digitalization is increasing in the Eastern Partnership countries, with a level of digitalization starting from 30% to 50-60%. So there is still work to be done, even if a multitude of services are already digitalized. We realize very well that it is an enormous effort to streamline and digitalize these services in a very short time,” stated the speaker.
Victor GUZUN, digitalization policy expert at IPRE, presented the preliminary conclusions of an analytical note, which examines the degree of use of digital services in the Republic of Moldova. “According to data available on the governmental portal of public services, there are 714 public services available in Moldova, of which 283 services or almost 40% are e-services. The new tool, which is a platform developed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization (MDED), is an interactive platform where we can see all the corresponding data about public services and their degree of penetration. Thus, at present, there are 523 public services provided by 42 public institutions in the Republic of Moldova, and 226 of them are digitalized. So we can say that almost 44% of the total number of services are digitalized. However, of the 226 digital services, 128 or about 56% had no users in 2022,” stated the author of the analytical note.
At the same time, Olga TUMURUC, Director of the Electronic Governance Agency (AGE), mentioned that the objective of the digital transformation strategy is to build a digital nation: “We aim to achieve that goal set in the digital transformation strategy – to build together a digital nation. This goal goes far beyond the public sector and requires modernization of society as a whole, changes at all levels – public, private, individual and educational. It is a context in which we need to popularize the idea of digitalization. Taking into account the latest developments in the e-transformation dimension of the last 10 years, the most organic and recommended change is the digitalization of public services. We all want to have services of a better quality. We want services to be centered on the needs of the citizen but, very often, in the case of the Republic of Moldova, services have been built or are actually a legacy of processes that have remained unchanged and untouched for 10 years. Another aspect is that one third of Moldova’s population is outside the country, for whom the traditional option of requesting public services is no longer relevant, and we must come up with an offer for them as well.”
Catalina PLINSCHI, adviser for digitalization to the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Development and Digitalization, stated: “The digital transformation strategy is one of our achievements that we are very proud of. This clearly sets out our vision for the country’s digital transformation by 2030. The strategy has six basic objectives, aimed at developing a digital society in which e-services are accessible to all citizens. This is our first objective – strengthening the sector through investments and research, but also streamlining public institutions through the extensive use of technologies. We want to build a digital nation brand by promoting our achievements in this area. It is known that the Republic of Moldova is one step ahead of the countries in the region in terms of digitalization, and we do not want to stop here. We will not stop until we reach 100% of digitalized public services. This is a very complex process and involves not only programming or including them on the public services portal, but also interconnecting larger databases.”
The debate was concluded with a series of conclusions from Laura CIOCLEA, Project Manager “Policy Advisory Fund” at GIZ Moldova, who stated: “Digital transformation is a priority in the German cooperation portfolio and will certainly remain a priority area for supporting our partners, both the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization, but also other institutions that are key actors in the entire digital development process. We have heard today how complex this process of practical and efficient implementation of the assumed and necessary changes is, so that no institution, no representative of the business environment or citizen lags behind the transformations we propose. We are dealing with a set of challenges, including lack of understanding of benefits, solutions available, limited information, lack of trust, fear of change or our own belief that we lack certain digital skills. Therefore, I am sure that such discussions will contribute to advancing the digital transformation process in the Republic of Moldova.”
The full recording of the public debate is available here.
The main conclusions of this event will be integrated into the updated version of the analytical note “The degree of use of digital services in the Republic of Moldova: findings, challenges and recommendations”, which will be published by IPRE by the end of September.
The event was organized by IPRE, with the joint support of the projects “Policy Advisory Fund” and “E-Government and Digitalization in the Eastern Partnership countries”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ Moldova.