Government officials and civil society on Tuesday said information and communications technology (ICT) has played a major role in disseminating public service information throughout the Kingdom as most people use smartphones and the internet, and this has helped reduce corruption and provide transparency.
The claim came at a seminar on the role of ICT in the public sector attended by some 50 participants from relevant ministries, civil society and youths.
Chet Kimchung, the deputy director of the Review, Assessment and Monitoring Unit of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD), said at the seminar that the use of technology to provide information about public services is a key means of connecting the government and the general public.
He said with the government conducting unwavering and decisive reforms, the use of technology to promote public services is even more important and necessary.
“ICT has contributed to the development of all sectors and provides opportunities for both national and sub-national stakeholders to fulfil their duties at the national and grassroots levels."
“Provinces, communes and districts are using modern technology to improve citizens’ access to public information and make it easier to manage their own affairs,” Kimchung said.
He said the NCDD has its own website, ncdd.gov.kh, where around 50 per cent of government data related to sub-national decentralisation reform has been published.
Pol Amrit Kitya, the deputy director of the Public Service Appropriations Department at the Ministry of Civil Service, told The Post on Tuesday: “The role of ICT is to help reduce corruption and improve transparency. People can check any service they need and know the procedure easily just by searching the web.
“In the past, it was only possible to find information on public services in books, and it was difficult for citizens in rural areas."
“It is transparent for people because in the past when they didn’t know where to look, they relied on middlemen which was time-consuming and costly."
“In addition, we will reduce corruption by officers providing these services, because the fees for services and procedures are widely publicised so people can easily find them – so public service officials will not be able to commit corruption,” Amrit Kitya said.
The executive director of Open Development Cambodia (ODC) Thy Try said that each ministry has a website or app providing reports and information related to their public services, but public service announcements by some state-owned institutions still seem to be limited.
Therefore, Try said, ODC has created a searchable database of public service information so people across the Kingdom can gain easy access.
He said that in the near future, the Ministry of Civil Service’s website would be more convenient and make those services closer to the people.
“With the lack of focus on what we should pay attention to, how can we encourage users to access all this ICT information? Almost everyone has a mobile phone but sometimes they don’t know where to look."
“To get to a point where all these services and systems are used by the millions of us out there, the government has to do more to promote the use of public services,” Try said.