Over the past two years since the State E-Government Agency was set up, we have achieved quite a lot and developed tools which stepped up the process of transforming public administration. The Single Electronic Administrative Services Portal (https://egov.bg/wps/portal/) run by the Agency can now be accessed using a personal cloud-based, mobile qualified electronic signature (QES) and can be used from any location in the world that has internet access. The announcement was made by SEGA Chairman Atanas Temelkov during the real-time presentation of how to access e-services using a mobile device. Digital identification, which has been widely discussed lately, will be easy and accessible via a mobile smart device, he went on to say.
In e-government, providing services to citizens and businesses is a priority. By 2023, they should have a one-stop-shop electronic access to more than 850 electronic services, Mr. Temelkov explained. According to the latest Gallup International public opinion survey of e-government, 75 per cent of the respondents in Bulgaria have never used electronic services and have engaged with public administration entities only “across the service counter”. At the same time, over 5.5 million citizens use mobile internet. This communication gap can be bridged. Accessing e-services and signing documents using a cloud QES will make interacting with public administration easier for all citizens. Provisions have been made to enable secure identification and a uniform way to access the services provided by the various institutions. That solution will significantly optimize the cost of developing, maintaining and using digital identification tools for the administration and for business alike. It will also provide a secure way to verify user identity until the implementation of personal IDs as a means of digital identification, the SEGA Chairman said
Identification and access to various e-services using a secure mobile QES application is implemented in partnership with BORICA AD and Eurotrust Technologies AD, the only two companies in Bulgaria that currently offer a certified cloud-based qualified e-signature at an affordable price.
Citizens and businesses can now interact fully digitally with administration entities via the System for Electronic Service of Documents. The system has about 19 000 registered users. Among those, there are over 90 companies and over 700 administration entities.
The main registers and systems in central government administrations have already been connected via RegiX, the data exchange ecosystem of registers. It supports 165 types of enquiries in 62 registers kept by central government entities, Atanas Temelkov reported. An average monthly of over 2 000 000 transactions to access certification and reference information are delivered using RegiX. Half of those service the needs of public administration. The system saves time and efforts in obtaining, verifying and processing data. The annual savings of money that can be achieved in terms of salary costs are almost 5 000 000 levs. Also, since 2018, citizens can use the system to control the way in which institutions use their data – what data, on what legal basis and for what purpose. That service is a powerful tool of citizen oversight of institutions, the SEGA Chairman believes.
The paper flow among administrations has been eliminated nationally in the document exchange among all administrative entities. About 1 000 of those exchange documents entirely by electronic means, which is the first measure to reduce paper-based administration that has been implemented successfully. On the average, the document flow between a central government administration and other public institutions can reach about 2 300 letters. All of those are now exchanged electronically. That translates into savings of about 100 tonnes of paper per year and about 220 000 levs per year on the average only from paper costs for the various administration entities. By eliminating the paper-based exchange of documents, the time necessary to register a document and the response time is now 6 times shorter.
Atanas Temelkov stressed on the importance of feedback from citizens and businesses about the use of electronic administrative services. Suggestions to improve the work of public administration can be sent via the electronic service of documents ( https://edelivery.egov.bg/).
BORICA, with its B-Trust service, is one of the first trust service providers in Bulgaria, since 2003. “From the very beginning, we have partnered with the government is a range of initiatives to provide electronic services for citizens and companies”, Krassimir Georchev, BORICA’s Sales Director said. Today, however, access to those services is easier and more user-friendly than ever, and all you need is to have a cloud-based electronic signature, a mobile phone and an internet connection, he said.
Prof. Georgi Dimitrov, EUROTRUST Board Member, said he felt proud that this new technology called mobile or cloud-based Qualified Electronic Signature has been developed in Bulgaria. It is a legally regulated tool for every citizens to identify themselves and sign their documents, without the need to have any special knowledge or skill, using only what everyone already has, their smart phone. With Eurotrust, the issuance of the signature is free of charge, and so are the first 5 signings, and using the tool is affordable and easy. He said he personally was very pleased that SEGA is making such modern and secure tools available to citizens, enhancing the use of public administration services.