In an interview with Portalb.mk, the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Admirim Aliti, talks about the process of reorganization of the public administration in North Macedonia, about the recent cyber-attacks on the websites of the ministries, the digital agency and the digital identity. According to him, the process of reorganization of the administration is expected to end in 2024. Aliti says that they are working on the digitalization strategy of all institutions, with a special emphasis on the electronic identity that will allow citizens to sign up online without having to go to the counters to register for their services.
Portalb: How far is the process of reorganization and optimization of the public administration and when is it expected to end?
Aliti: Regarding the reorganization of public institutions, it is a process that we have just started and is currently being piloted in three ministries, including the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture.
This means that until now national and international experts worked on the analysis of the institutions and categorized those that are unnecessary, which have the same activity and which should be merged. They categorized all the institutions and under which ministries they should be, in the sense that the communication between the institutions, the ministries and then the Government should be more efficient.
Piloting is expected to take place this year and next year, while the entire process of reorganization must start from 2024. This means that in 2024, as a ministry and as a government, our expectations are that all institutions, directorates will be within a given ministry, and the directorates and institutions that need to be closed will be closed.
Portalb: Over the years, every government promises to reduce the number of employees in the public administration and its departmentalization. What did you do in this direction while you were in this position?
Aliti: Two weeks ago, we introduced three laws, and among them is the law on public sector employees. There, we introduced the mechanisms aimed at the departmentalization of the institutions, more precisely in the introduction of mechanisms that confirm that employment will be based on meritocracy.
This means employing the best candidates in the institutions. As for the large number of employees in the public sector, it is worth highlighting and we mention this every time – employees in the central public administration, which means in the ministries and institutions that are under the management of the government, are close to 13 thousand employees, which is about 10% from the public sector. Most of the employment in the public sector, or rather the surplus of employees in the public sector, is in public enterprises managed by municipalities to which we as the Government do not have direct access, as well as in the education and health sectors.
This requires a more comprehensive approach of the Government. With the laws we are introducing as MISA, we want to make changes to indirectly influence and not have too many jobs there. At the moment, what citizens should know is that the largest number of employments are in the directorates and institutions managed by the municipalities themselves. Municipalities already have decision-making autonomy in this regard.
Portalb: What is the obstacle to not passing the Law on Senior Service in Administration?
Aliti: No, there is no reason, no blockage. It is a process and part of the process implies that we as a government and ministry promote an inclusive process, which in turn means that we listen to all parties. So far, apart from the workers from the Ministry of Health, Sigma’s experts are the ones who support us for this law and similar laws.
Of course, we also consult with stakeholders who are in other ministries and the general secretariat, consultation means that we have different opinions and we try to make the best opinions part of the law. We currently have a draft version of that law. Now we are in a process where we want to get support and consensus from all political stakeholders, including the government and the opposition.
There will also be public discussions where the non-governmental sector and others will have the opportunity to get involved and then we will send it to the Government and the Parliament. The process is ongoing, but we are in the finalization phase of all articles of this law.
Portalb: How far is the procedure for establishing the Digitalization Agency?
Aliti: The Digital Agency, but also the Cyber Security Agency, is in the context of the reorganization of the institutions, because the part of the reorganization of the institutions implies that if the Government determines that we need to add a missing institution, it should be added.
Therefore, in the pilot phase within the MISA, we planned to have a Digital Agency that will be responsible for the digitization of institutions, but also the Agency for Cyber Security that will have the task of preventing attacks that occur in state institutions. Our expectation is to have these two agencies within two years at the most.
Currently the digitization part is the part done by MISA, we have platforms that are used by several institutions. Conceptually, it is bad that the ministry is also the entity that carries the digitalization laws, but also has operational responsibility. Now when we have the Digital Agency, it means that the ministry will work in the area of legislation, while the Agency will implement the policies and strategies resulting from MISA.
Portalb: Is the procedure for digitizing the registry books over?
Aliti: The Office for the management of registers has some services that they provide through the e-services platform of our ministry, also their services are provided in the service centers of some service point, but not all services. We have created a joint working group with the Office for the management of registers, which performs the analysis. We expect during these months to finalize an action plan on which services will be digitized and when. We as MISA are here to support them to digitize the services they provide to citizens.
Portalb: When will the citizens of RNM have a digital identity, is there a concrete plan?
Aliti: We are also working in this direction. I would not like to speculate on a date because it is a more comprehensive process in which the Ministry of Interior and other institutions are also involved. We work both as a ministry and at the government level together with other colleagues – ministers.
Some time ago, we also established the Council for Digitization at the ministerial level, and some of the ministers are the Minister of Internal Affairs, Finance and myself as the Minister of MISA. We are creating the Strategy for the digitization of all institutions, with a special emphasis on the electronic identity that will allow our citizens to be able to register online without having to come to the counters to sign up for their services.
Portalb: In the past period, some websites of ministries were hacked and data was stolen, how well is our country protected from such attacks and is their origin known?
Aliti: Currently the issue of websites is decentralized among different ministries. This means that each ministry maintains its own website. In the last case, it was the Ministry of Education, and they themselves are responsible for that website. As a ministry, we have an advisory role, but we are not maintaining it.
As MISA we made a project to unify all websites, but currently, only the Ministry of Economy has joined the initiative, they are now in our system. The idea is that in a short time every ministry and the Government will be part of that program, in that case, we as a ministry know that we are responsible for the maintenance and also for the security of all the websites of the ministries.
Portalb: When is this whole process expected to end?
Aliti: Technically, we have completed the process, now we are at the stage where we are telling the ministries to be part of the unified websites. This practically means that they have to transfer all the data that they have on the existing pages to these unified pages that we have as a platform as a ministry.
Interviewer: Fisnik Xhelili
Link to the original article: Алити: Процесот на реорганизација на државната администрација се очекува да заврши во 2024 година | Meta.mk