Saturday, April 5, 2014

       Prospects of E-Government in Pakistan

Statistics of the recent report of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) released in May , 2013 highlighted quite encouraging figures about number of mobile users in Pakistan with 125,012,860 cell users  thus elevating teledensity to all time high with 70 percent mark. Therefore, I believe that e-government applications and projects possess immense potential to ensure coordination between citizens and government sector without any constraints of time and geography through effective use of modern communication technologies like mobile and internet. Countries all over the globe employ its strategic framework to target three main groups; Government to Citizens (G2C), Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Government (G2G). However e government is still in its infancy in developing countries like Pakistan as it is evident from the UN e-government survey reports, which clearly indicate that the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) for Pakistan is below the world’s average

World’s Average

Table: E-Government Development Index of Pakistan

            Therefore I decided to carry out a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis  for writing this blog to establish better understanding of all aspects in light of PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) factors.
A. Strengths
1.  Pakistani government has shown considerable political willingness to implement e-government through its policies of establishment of Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) in 2002 and E-Government Directorate (EGD) under the administrative umbrella of Ministry of Information Technology.
2.     The acceptance of e-government system by the citizens as depicted by the tends that more and more citizens are keen to excel in IT skills.
3.     Pakistan's government and citizens have access to efficient ICT infrastructure throughout 24/7 to communicate beyond time and geographical limitations.
4.  The education system of Pakistan also endeavors to produce skilful workforce for IT and telecommunication industry as computer science has been given the status of a compulsory subject in the schools and colleges in Pakistan.

B. Weaknesses
  1.   The unstable political situation of Pakistan is a stumbling block for implementation of governmental policies and allocation of adequate funds
  2.   .   Terrorism is the greatest threat facing Pakistan and a lion's share of state's resources are spent to contain it leaving behind very little resources for e-government deployments. According to official reports 60% of budget is spent on defense while only 2.1% of GDP is allocated for education.
  3.    .     The current literacy rate of Pakistan is lingering on 56% which is a bottleneck in way of usage of computer, electronic services and internet  Another
  4.   .  In Pakistan websites of government ministries are not user friendly, telecommunication technologies are expensive and there are frequent power shortages.

C. Opportunities
  1. People having IT skills have bright chances of employment in Pakistan as Information Technology and Information Systems is the steering wheel of all major enterprises in Pakistan.
  2.  According to statistics More than 60% of Pakistan’s population is below 25 years of age and is enthusiastic for learning new IT skills. Hence cheap workforce is readily available for public and private sector.
  3.   The deployment of Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) in Pakistan has opened new vistas for fast Internet connectivity and cost-effective electronic facilities.
D. Threats
  1. Pakistan's dwindling economy is a roadblock in way of effective implementation of e-government projects.
  2. The digital divide present in Pakistan's society due to low literacy rate and limited internet access casts negative impacts on usage of e-government services in Pakistan.
  3.   Dearth of educational and employment opportunities promote information and demographic divide.
  4.   Because of skyrocketing prices of telecommunication services people are reluctant to avail e-services.

Ministry of Information Technology, Pakistan. (Last Accessed 26th March,
E-government Directorate Pakistan. http://www.egovernment. [Last Accessed 26th March, 2012]

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