With its 53 online services, the Digital Revolution at the Social Insurance Institute has eliminated almost a quarter of a million visits to the service windows of this institute as part of the digital government concept aimed at improving public service delivery, from making data-driven decisions to enacting evidence-based policies, from ensuring greater accountability and transparency within government to building greater public trust.
Prime Minister Edi Rama visited the Social Insurance Institute office in Durres, where the long queues of people no longer exist, while the endless wanderings from one office to another are now a thing of the past.
Finance Minister Anila Denaj said that in addition to time-saving, elimination of long queues and provision of cost-effective public services, the online platform has halved the normal time needed to deliver a certain service.
“This is one of our Institute offices recently renovated after the earthquake and as you see there are no people staying on long queues. What is important in terms of online services is the shortened time at all Institute service windows, including Durrës and the reduction of time to almost 50% for all services.”
The head of the National Agency for Information Society, Mirlinda Karçanaj, said that the online services have created a new reality, providing significant relief to the citizens, mainly the elderly, who will not have to report at the window services personally in order to receive many public services.
”More than 46% of the applicants for online public services belong to the age group over 60, which means that even people in their third age are able to use the online portal and this is shown to us through facts. In the case of some of the most common applications, for example, applications for pension, we have eliminated the queues and the number of the required documents. Some 14 documents have been removed, which are no longer provided by the applicant, but by the Institute employees through the Portal e-albania.”
Transparency is another benefit of online services. “What I would like to point out is that a more transparent public service delivery system has been established via the online services. With every service provided online only, we are able to monitor the employees, but also to check the deadlines,” the Social Insurance Institute Director Astrit Hado said.
Prime Minister Edi Rama said that the Digital Revolution has transformed and brought about a historic change to the delivery of public services in Albania. “This is for those who claim that nothing has changed in the public administration and it has remained all the same. The truth is that a historic change has taken place. The citizens themselves should avoid physical contact with the administration, because a number of problems have yet to be tackled when it comes to the direct contact. Raising the level of awareness and education of the administration takes its time, it cannot be done simply by going to Germany and France, because it is about hundreds of years of tradition, it is not about either two or three decades. In this way, the public services are all in your pocket and not an official’s hand in the people’s pocket, but the whole state is in your pocket, you have it on your iphone, you have it at home, you have it on the nearest computer. Those who say that the portal e-albania is for the young people, they are wrong because we have found out that the older people are also the most active and regular users of the co-government platform too. In this way they are spared the trouble to go to various state institutions and solve their problems via the online platforms.
These Social Insurance Institute offices used to serve as railway stations, but this has changed completely today. It is quite obvious and it would just take the refusal to see and realize how things have changed.
All the countries that have gone through such a process have actually experienced such a psychological transition. There are even countries that have introduced such processes “violently” by telling people that they will no longer provide public services through the service windows and this is it. We will resort to this approach as these service windows are being closed down and people will have no other choice but use the online platforms.
The same goes over the State Cadastre. It is completely possible for everyone to file an online application and receive a direct reply via the computer about all the areas included on the list of the online services. I am not talking about areas where the registration process is still underway, like coastal areas. It is no longer for a director or public official to shun people by telling them to report again tomorrow, because everything is monitored by the central server and the central directorate.
On average, one physical service was connected to 10 other services. In order for someone to have a certain service delivered, he or she had to obtain 10 various documents in ten different offices scattered all over the city. Now you will no longer need to walk and travel to every corner of the city. Those who until yesterday waited for people like sheep in the corners of the city are now obliged to provide any required documents. It is the state that provides the state documents, while you should report in person to obtain a document in banks or other private institutions. This is a revolution.
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