Will the e-services process speed up?
Through the interoperability platform, the courts are already connected with the Ministry of Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Customs Administration, the Central Registry, the SEC, the Financial Police Directorate, the Financial Intelligence Directorate, the SCPC and MNAV – the Civil Aviation Agency. 39 institutions are connected to the Interoperability Platform, with a tendency for another 15 institutions to join. This, among other things, is stated in the Metamorphosis Public Administration Reform Report entitled: “Administering” the administration – key precondition for reforms, which outlines the state of the reform process from 2021, until March 31 2022
The digitalization of administration and the development of digital services cannot be separated. These are complementary processes, and, according to experts, we are not so bad, but of course, there is room for much faster implementation. A good example is of course the recent signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Justice and 34 other institutions for fast, electronic data exchange between the judiciary and the institutions that was publicly promoted in the Government of the RNM. De facto, RNM has practically become the first country in the region where 34 courts in the country exchange data electronically, and from the moment of signing, 9 institutions can directly exchange data with the judiciary. Through the interoperability platform, the courts are already connected with the Ministry of Interior, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Customs Administration, the Central Registry, the SEC, the Financial Police Directorate, the Financial Intelligence Directorate, the SCPC and MNAV – the Civil Aviation Agency. 39 institutions are connected to the Interoperability Platform, with a tendency for another 15 institutions to join.
The purpose of the Report was to find out whether this part of the reforms is financed in accordance with the needs and tasks of the Action Plan. What is widely known to the public is that MISA for this year has allocated 4 million euros only for digitalization, plus the Ministry of Justice 1.5 million euros for digitalization processes in the judiciary. It is assumed that other ministries and institutions in the budgets for 2022 have provided such funds. But how much and is it enough? This answer cannot be obtained, unless the budgets are searched manually from institution to institution, and sometimes not at all, because in the country the budget is not made programmatically yet. One of the experts said that a new Law on Budgets is being prepared, which will have program budgeting, so it will be transparently known how much is budgeted for the implementation of an action plan for a specific strategy or a special program. This is foreseen in the new Law on Budgets, which is already on the second reading in the Assembly at the moment when this Report was concluded, which will replace the old legal solution from 2005.
According to another expert, however, it is not always up to the funds:
Sometimes it is not only up to the funds, but also to the will of the managers of the institution. You have examples where institutions or municipalities with relatively modest budgets have moved forward in the process and vice versa. Despite the budgeting, the processes stand still or have moved a bit forward – says the expert.
According to one expert, one can even mathematically calculate how much progress in digital services would cost. Starting from the expert’s analysis that digitization of data sets costs between 20 and 50 thousand euros, if we take an average value of 25-30 thousand euros, the digitalization of service would cost the same, roughly speaking. However, there are services for which we do not need that much money, but only a connection to the central portal.
What can be concluded from the experts in the focus group about the success and acceleration of digitalization in the administration, and thus, of course, the acceleration of the e-services process, can be systematized in four points or directions that policymakers should keep in mind:
- there is continuity of policies;
- the legal framework is constantly updated or the noticed weaknesses are removed;
- building infrastructure at both central and local levels, as evenly and as synchronized as possible;
- continuous training of the public administration both in terms of digital literacy and in terms of implementation of digital services for citizens.
The latest information obtained during the preparation of this Report is that the coordination of the whole process is happening at the Cabinet of the Minister of Good Governance, while the need for harmonization of laws has so far identified nearly 300 laws and other regulations.
This article has been produced within the project Fact-Checking the Progress of North Macedonia towards the EU, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, originally published by Truthmeter,, is made possible by the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The content of this article is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, NED or their partners.