Namibia’s parliamentarians will shortly be using tablets rather than paper to conduct their business in the National Assembly as the country looks to implement an e-government programme.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Communication Technology is pursuing the move towards a paperless government, and just returned from a visit to Estonia to see how the country uses ICT.
Dr Moses Amweelo, who led the group of MPs on the study trip, said they were impressed by what they saw and recommended that in order for Namibia to become a digital society “we need to upgrade ICT infrastructure and implement policies effectively”.
“Our MPs do not have to carry papers anymore. They need iPads,” he said.
Estonia has established various e-services, under the umbrella title E-Estonia, in both the public and private sectors. These ICT innovations include e-governance, e-cabinet, e-parliament, e-health, e-election and e-voting, electronic identity cards, e-banking, e-school, cyber security, e-tax, e-business register and e-police.
“The country is even called E-Estonia with an e-society and the usage of internet and ICT is so high that most of the transactions such as banking, voting, medical health prescriptions and companies registrations are done at home and much faster,” said Amweelo. “The Estonians are sure that their projects for E-Government framework development and portals are making significant contributions to the process of moving towards the information society.”
The committee has argued for Namibia to automate all government services and introduce a paperless system. It believes the system should be decentralized, though linking together relevant services and databases.