Bắc Giang province goes digital

For the first time in years, Lương Văn Hữu feels happy after completing procedures for land use right certificates. In the past, the processing of certiificates attesting to land and house rights could take as long as a month. People had to travel great distances in order to hand in documents and get the required papers.

But since his home province of Bắc Giang, just east of Hà Nội inaugurated the Bắc Giang Centre for Public Administration in the beginning of September, local residents no longer need to travel far because the offices charged with administrative procedures are all concentrated under one roof.

“Now it takes me only from five to ten days to have land and house use right certificates,” said Hữu.

Simpler documentation, such as driving licences, take no more than five days, he said.

Nguyễn Thanh Huyền, another resident of Bắc Giang City who came to the centre to change her motorbike driving licence, said the staff at the centre was enthusiastic and hospitable.

“All of them help residents reduce travel time and complete administrative procedures, making people feel happier in their contact with officials,” she said. “We receive careful advice from the centre’s workers about the papers we need.”

Visitors to the centre are greeted by a sign directing them to take a number and await their turn.

Waiting could take 10-15 minutes, but the room is large and cool and visitors feel comfortable, Huyền said.

The inauguration of the Bắc Giang Centre for Public Administration was part of the province’s administrative reform for the period of 2016 to 2020, said Lại Thanh Sơn, standing deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

The centre is spread out over 1,300sq.m on two floors. About VNĐ14.9 billion (US$662,200) was invested in its construction.

The first floor has a post office, photocopying service, snacks and automated teller machines. The second floor has more than 20 offices of various departments and sectors of Bắc Giang Province.

Deputy Chairman Sơn said that the centre had improved workers’ professional skills and also helped officials at different levels in the province check and supervise administrative procedures and resolve problems as they arise.

Province authorities have targeted 170 administrative procedures for reform in order to simplify and shorten the time it takes to complete them, said Sơn.

Typically, completing procedures for land hire and transfer currently takes 15 days, half the time it took in 2014. Investment certificates are issued within seven days, three days fewer than in 2014.

Last year, the province ranked 10th of 63 provinces and cities in terms of public administration reform.

Currently, all State offices at provincial and district level have internal computer networks. More than 500 schools and more than 140 enterprises in the province have websites.

Document are sent via email, saving nearly VNĐ12 billion ($533,300) in annual postal costs, said Sơn.

Nguyễn Hữu Dũng, deputy chief of the Bắc Giang Department of Construction Secretariat, who directly receives documents related to the department, said that with modern infrastructure, the centre provides good conditions for organisations and individuals to efficiently conduct administrative procedures.

It also provides a good working environment for staff, enabling them to improve their skills on information technology and communication and apply them to daily work on computer systems, he said.

Digitising procedures

“The province is striving to digitalise all information and procedures to better serve residents and enterprises by applying technology to administrative reform,” said Sơn.

The province has set a 2020 target of having 90 per cent of official documents of administrative organisations in electronic form.

All of staff workers will use email in carrying out their work, he said.

Most administrative services will be supplied online on websites to meet the real demand of residents and enterprises everywhere, said Sơn.

In the first nine months of this year, Bắc Giang’s economic growth reached 9.8 per cent, the highest since 2013, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

The province contributed to the state budget more than 2.7 trillion (US$120.9 million), an increase of more than 20 per cent compared with the same period last year. 

It ranks ninth out of 63 provinces and cities in terms of attracting foreign investment.

More than 80 per cent of communes in the province reached national health norms.


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