Aliti: The reorganization process of the state administration is expected to finish in 2024

In an interview for, the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Admirim Aliti, talks about the reorganization process of the public administration in North Macedonia, about the recent cyberattacks to the web pages of the ministries, the digital agency and the digital identity. According to him, the reorganization process of the administration is expected to finish in 2024. Aliti says that they are working on the digitalization strategy of all institutions, with a particular focus on the electronic identity which will provide citizens the opportunity to sign online without having to go to the counters to register for their services.

Portalb: What stage has the reorganization and optimization process of the public administration reached and when it is expected to finish?

Aliti: In terms of the reorganization of public institutions, it is a process that we recently started and it is currently being piloted in three ministries: the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture.

That means that all of our domestic and international experts worked on the analysis of the institutions and categorized the ones that were unnecessary, the ones that were performing the same function and the ones that needed to be merged. They also categorized all institutions with regards to the ministry which should be in charge of them, in the sense of making the communication between the institutions, ministries and then the Government more efficient.

The pilot process is expected to be carried out over this and the following year, while the whole reorganization process has to start from 2024, which means that in 2024, as a ministry and as the Government, our expectations are that all institutions and offices should be within the framework of some ministry, while the offices and institutions that need to be closed down will be closed down by then.

Portalb: Throughout the years, every government has been promising to decrease the number of employees in public administration and to carry out departization. What did you do, in this regard, since you took on this role?

Aliti: Two weeks ago, we laid down three laws, among which the Law on Public Sector Employees. We introduced the mechanisms related to the departization of institutions there, and in particular the mechanisms that confirm that employment opportunities will be based on meritocracy.

That means employing the best candidates in the institutions. With regards to the large number of employees in the public sector, something we always emphasize is worth mentioning again – there are approximately 13 000 employees in the central public administration, i.e. the ministries and institutions under the leadership of the government, which is around 10% of the public sector. The largest number of jobs in the public sector, i.e. the surplus of employees in the public sector, is in the public enterprises that are governed by municipalities to which we do not have direct access as a Government, as well as the sectors of education and health.

A more encompassing approach of the Government is necessary for this. With the laws that we introduce as the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, we want to make changes that will have an indirect influence and decrease the number of jobs. Currently, what the citizens should know is that the largest number of jobs are in the offices and institutions governed by the municipalities themselves. The municipalities already have autonomy in terms of making decisions about this.

Portalb: What is the obstacle for not passing the Law on Senior Service in the Administration?

Aliti: No, there is no reason. There is no blockade. This is a process and part of the process implies that we as a Government and a ministry promote an inclusive process, which in turn means that we listen to all stakeholders. So far, except for the employees at the Ministry of Health, the experts of Sigma have been supporting us about this law and similar laws.

Of course, we consult with the stakeholders in other ministries and the General Secretariat, but those consultations mean that we have different opinions and we are trying to make the best ones part of the law. At the moment, we have a draft version of that law. We are currently in the midst of a process where we want to obtain support and consensus from all political stakeholders, including the authorities and the opposition.

Public discussions where the non-governmental sector and other parties can have the opportunity to join in will be held and later on we will forward the law to the Government and the Assembly. This process is ongoing, but we are in the stage of finishing all articles of this law.

Portalb: What stage has the procedure for establishing a Digitalization Agency reached?

Aliti: The Digital Agency and the Cyber Security Agency are part of the institutional reorganization, because the reorganization procedure means that if the Government decides that an institution which is missing should be added, it will be.

That is why, in the pilot stage within the framework of the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, our plan was to establish a Digital Agency that will be in charge of digitalizing the institutions, but also a Cyber Security Agency which will be in charge of preventing attacks that happen in the state institutions. Our expectations involve establishing these two agencies within a period of two years at most.

Currently, the digitalization aspect is carried out by the MISA. We have platforms that are being used by various institutions. Concept-wise, it is bad that the ministry is also the entity adopting the digitalization laws, but there is also operational accountability. When we establish the Digital Agency, the ministry will be working in legislature, while the Agency will be carrying out the policies and strategies stemming from the MISA.

Portalb: Has the procedure for digitalizing the registries been completed?

Aliti: Registries provide some services through our ministry’s e-service platform, and some of their services are provided in the service centers, but not all. Together with the Civil Registry Office, we created a working group that is conducting an analysis. We expect to have completed an action plan in the upcoming months with regards to which services should be digitalized and when. We, as the MISA, are here to support them to digitalize the services they provide to the citizens.

Portalb: When will the citizens of RNM have a digital identity, is there anything specific in this regard?

Aliti: We are working in this direction too, but I would not want to speculate about a particular date, because it is a more encompassing process involving the MOI and other institutions. We are working as a ministry on a governmental level too, together with other colleagues – ministers.

A while ago, we founded the Digitalization Council on a ministry level, where the minister for interior affairs, the minister for finances and me as the minister of MISA are taking part. We are creating the Strategy for Digitalization of all institutions, with a particular focus on the electronic identity that will provide our citizens the opportunity to sign online without having to physically go at the counters to sign for their services.

Portalb: Recently, some ministries’ web pages were hacked, and thus, some data was stolen. What is the level of protection of our country from such attacks and has their origin been uncovered?

Aliti: Currently, the web page issue is decentralized among different ministries. What this means is that practically, every ministry maintains their own web page. The last attack happened to the Ministry of Education, and it is the ministry itself who is responsible for its own web page. We, as a ministry, have an advisory role, but we are not in charge of its maintenance.

As the MISA, we developed a project for unifying all web pages, but currently, only the Ministry of Economy has joined the initiative and they are now in our system. The idea is for all ministries, but also the Government, to become part of that program in a short time and in that case, we as a ministry would be responsible for the maintenance and the security of all web pages of the ministries.

Portalb: When is this whole process expected to finish?

Aliti: Technically, we have completed the process, and we are in the stage where we ask the ministries to be part of the unified web pages. What this means is that they should transfer all the data they have on the existing pages to these unified pages we have on the platform as a ministry.

Interviewed by: Fisnik Xhelili

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