ASTANA – Kazakhstan does not plan to lag behind in the global digitisation trend and the Kazakh government is taking an active approach to developing electronic government services, planning to digitise 90 percent of those by 2020.
The United Nations E-Government Survey in 2018 examined how digital technologies affect public services across its member states, and placed Kazakhstan in the 39th spot. Kazakhstan was for the first time ranked among the countries with the most developed e-governments, and listed among the top 10 countries in Asia.
Kazakh Minister of Information and Communications Dauren Abayev said at a Jan. 16 government meeting that the current register includes 741 services and only 61 percent of them are provided in an electronic format. Of those, 165 are available only in digital formats, including licenses, permitting documents and business subsidising services.
Kazakhstan’s electronic government website, currently the main channel for providing public services online, has more than 8.5 million users and in 2018 facilitated nearly 30 million services.
The ministry, however, said digitising 100 percent of services is not possible: some services require the presence of an individual and the involvement of specialists.
Last year witnessed the digitisation of 64 services. Citizens can now submit driving license applications and register vehicles online. Since launching these digitised services, they have been used more than 23,000 times.
Registering a vehicle previously took six hours. The time has now been cut to two hours, or only 20 minutes if doing it during a vehicle purchase or sale. Registration documents can be delivered through Kazpost.
The government is currently working to cut the time people spend at services provision centres trying to access such services as disability statements or social allowances and benefits.
Electronic government can also be accessed through a mobile government application that currently provides 87 services. The app has 1.3 million users.
In a broader effort to optimise the effectiveness of public administration and public services, the government prepared a bill that envisions 500 amendments to 43 laws and 10 codes.
They are meant to optimise 121 services, including cutting the time it takes to register a marriage from one month to three working days, sending automatic refunds of tax overpayments and cancelling more than 3,500 standards and regulations in state services provision.
Officials expect to reach 80 percent digitisation this year and 90 percent by 2020, reducing the number of paper documents by 110 million.
Head of Government for Citizens State Corporation Abylaikhan Ospanov said the corporation currently provides 598 services offered in 325 front offices, 16 specialised public services provision centres, 70 mobile centres and 1,656 post offices.
Using public services online requires an electronic signature that every citizen can obtain at the National Certification Centre.
Ospanov said the electronic signature is a very open mechanism.
“There are many apps on the market today, including start-ups used by private companies. I know people who develop platforms where businesses can sign agreements in electronic format using electronic signature,” said Ospanov.
National Information Technologies Chair Aset Turyssov assured the meeting that electronic signatures are safe.
“It is issued by the national certification centre. It is the only one in Kazakhstan. Electronic signature has a technical structure that includes two keys, one open, one closed. Any use of an electronic signature, even in the private sector, will deal with our national certification centre, which will confirm authentication. This is an authentication of the signer being a citizen and signing with the signature. So, the issue of security complies with the uniform requirement of information security and the requirements of the ministry,” said Turyssov.
Ospanov said biometrics could replace electronic signatures in providing services.
“Since launching, nearly 1,500 people submitted their biometric data within just two weeks. We also plan to expand the mobile electronic government and add more services to that,” said Ospanov.
Currently, only Astana and Almaty residents can submit biometrics; by the end of the year, the government plans to reach all regions.