E-Government in Pakistan: Challenges and Way Forward

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Introduction 

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the public sector to provide high-quality services to citizens, businesses, and government personnel is known as e-government (OECD, 2009). Even in underdeveloped nations, digital governance, or digitization of the public sector through the use of technology to provide government services online, has become one of the fundamental tools of statecraft. Improved ICT access is critical for closing the digital divide, promoting effective government, and advancing sustainable development. E-Government efforts have had positive effects on the delivery of public services; nevertheless, in developing countries like Pakistan, their total impact has remained restricted due to plenty of obstacles and the slow pace with which they have been implemented.

Electronic Government Directorate

The Electronic Government Directorate was created in Pakistan in October 2002. The Pakistan Computer Bureau was combined with the Directorate in 2014 to become the National Information Technology Board (NITB). NITB assists Federal Ministries in implementing e-governance programmes that aim to improve information and service delivery, as well as efficiency and openness (Arfeen, 2014). Pakistan is steadily advancing toward e-governance implementation in order to improve the coverage and quality of information and services supplied to the general public utilizing ICT in a simple, cost-effective, and efficient manner (The Federal Government, 2005). 24 interactive webs and nine mobile apps were successfully implemented by NITB 

Challenges of E-Government in Pakistan

Since 2002, the Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) has been working in Pakistan to overcome barriers to E-Government projects. Due to numerous problems, the government’s planned aims were unable to be met, and mega projects pertaining to e-government were deemed failures in the country.

Poor Literacy Rate

A low literacy rate is a significant impediment to successful e-government adoption. The greatest difficulty that emerging countries like Pakistan face is a low literacy rate. Pakistan is a South Asian country having infrastructure, topography, e-government service adoption and development, and literacy rates that are similar to those of other countries. E-learning and information and communication technology (ICT) literacy are critically important for people to be able to benefit from e-government applications (Chandio, 2018). 

Diversity in Culture and Languages

Pakistan has a wide range of cultures and languages. Since Pakistan has a low literacy rate, the English language has a low level of acceptance. The applications for e-governance are written in English. As a result, e-governance programmes are rarely very successful. E-governance applications must be designed in the people’s native language in order for them to be able to use and benefit from them. The majority of the government’s e-governance applications are now available in Urdu, which is a positive step toward resolving the issue.

Economic Poverty 

Economic poverty is strongly linked to a limitation of information technology resources. People living in poverty are unable to afford a computer and internet connection in order to make use of e-government and other online services. In developing nations like Pakistan, where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line, the cost is one of the most significant barriers to e-governance implementation. Pakistan has a poor per capita income when compared to other countries. As a result, the majority of people cannot afford government-provided online services, posing a difficulty for e-governance adoption. Individuals, communities, and enterprises who have access to information are separated by a digital gap.

Lack of Awareness

One of the most significant challenges is a lack of knowledge regarding e-governance services. Even some of Pakistan’s most prosperous citizens are unaware of the extent and benefits of e-governance. Most people have no idea how to use new programmes or computer equipment, or they do not have access to the internet. Government networks must be able to permeate all areas, even those that are inhospitable. Managing such a massive network, however, is costly.

Way forward

The e-government dilemmas can be resolved by improving IT knowledge. Literacy and skills related to the adaption of technological applications and tools might help to solve current difficulties in the public sector. After training, the government must issue a license to those who want to provide IT services. These professionals can give low-cost services to people who are unable to use e-government programmes. It would provide unemployed people with new opportunities. It’s also important to keep an eye on the results of the e-governance system that’s already in place. Instead of implementation, monitoring the efficacy of the e-governance system has become a major task. The meaning of the letter ‘e’ in the phrase e-governance must be changed from electronic to efficient. In any case, implementing an effective e-governance system in Pakistan will take longer.

Conclusion

The meaning of the letter ‘e’ in the phrase e-governance must be changed from electronic to efficient. To make the futuristic vision work, there is a need for collaboration among e-Governance linked departments and institutions. The above-discussed challenges and difficulties are to be surmounted to move ahead with the project through our resolve and immediate attention. In any case, implementing an effective e-governance system in Pakistan will take longer.

Bibliography

Arfeen, M. I. (2014). Future of e-Government in Pakistan: A Case Study Approach. Twentieth Americas Conference on Information Systems. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/display/301361823

Chandio, A. R. (2018). E-GOVERNMENT IN PAKISTAN: FRAMEWORK OF OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES. Global Scientific Journals. Retrieved from E_GOVERNMENT_IN_PAKISTAN_FRAMEWORK_OF_OPPORTUNITIES_AND_CHALLENGES.pdf

The Federal Government. (2005). E-Government Strategy and 5-Year Plan for the Federal Government. Government of Pakistan. Retrieved from pportal.punjab.gov.pk/portal/docimages/14240Action_Plan.pdf

Research Questions

What are the challenges in the implementation of E-Government Services in Pakistan?

How literacy rate and economic poverty affects the development process of E-Government?

Key Takeaways

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the public sector to provide high-quality services to citizens, businesses, and government personnel is known as e-government.

The Pakistan Computer Bureau was combined with the Directorate in 2014 to become the National Information Technology Board (NITB). NITB assists Federal Ministries in implementing e-governance programmes that aim to improve information and service delivery, as well as efficiency and openness (Arfeen, 2014). 24 interactive webs and 9 mobile apps were successfully implemented by NITB.

A low literacy rate is a significant impediment to successful e-government adoption. Also, economic poverty is strongly linked to a limitation of information technology resources. People living in poverty are unable to afford a computer and internet connection in order to make use of e-government and other online services.

One of the most significant challenges is a lack of knowledge regarding e-governance services. Even some of Pakistan’s most prosperous citizens are unaware of the extent and benefits of e-governance.

Literacy and skills related to the adaption of technological applications and tools might help to solve current difficulties in the e-government sector.

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