Public Sector E-Service Development in Bangladesh: Status, Prospects and Challenges

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FINAL Thesis 2010-06-03
FINAL Thesis (Ver 10.7): M. Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan Page 1 of 21 Public Sector E-Service Development in Bangladesh: Status, Prospects and Challenges M. Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan

E-Government- Master Program
Swedish Business School, Örebro University, Sweden
shakhawat@erd.gov.bd
Abstract
Rapid development of information and communication technology (ICT) creates extensive opportunities for efficient and cost effective public service delivery. Most developed countries have established electronic services since several years, while most of the developing countries have started lately. Bangladesh has also started to prioritize e-service development in the national agenda e.g. dissemination of service information through websites, availability of official forms online, utility bill payment through mobile phone SMS. There is yet a lack of studies capturing the overall picture of such initiatives and progress in the country. Hence, the aim of this study is to examine various public e-service development initiatives in Bangladesh, assess their e-service maturity level, and expedite implementation of such services.

The study is based on both survey and interview approaches. A survey on 44 public officials, working for e-government implementation in different ministries and central public authorities, was conducted using a structured questionnaire. In addition, nine top-level officials involved in the government policy intervention were interviewed. A literature review covers theoretical tools on measuring and implementing e-government applications such as stage models. The survey and interview results aligned with a well-known stage model have provided an overall picture of public e-service initiatives in Bangladesh. The study has identified existing major e-services and assessed the overall maturity level of the services. The study also contributes by identifying prospects for public e-service delivery in Bangladesh, including growing use of mobile phones and public private partnerships (PPP); while inadequate legal regulations, scarcity of power supply, insufficient initiatives by top-level managements, service integrity and interoperability etc. are identified as challenges for the growth of public e-service development and sustainability.

Key-words: e-service, electronic service, public service delivery, public service reform, e-government application, interoperability, integrated service, Bangladesh. 1.0 INTRODUCTION
Better public service requires a thorough rethinking and re-examination of the structure of public services and then to exploit possibilities of creating value by working across boundaries and jurisdictions to foster potential gains of redesigned services in terms of speed and cost (Fountain, 2007). The ‘e-government framework’ allows public sector organizations to achieve such gain using Information and Communication Technology (ICT). In spite of continuous efforts of the government toward ICT implementation, Bangladesh is still at a rudimentary stage, ranked 134 th

position in Egovernment Development Index 2010 out of 185 countries. On the other hand, the country ranked 60 th
in Online Service Index 2010 (Global eGovernment Survey 2010); which indicates the potentiality of the country in online service development.
In fact, major computerization and infrastructure development in the public sector of Bangladesh has been taking place to replace internal manual work processes by ICT-based automation. On the other hand, several websites have been launching for different public organizations. A nationwide survey (SICT, 2008. p.34) on the e-government initiatives in Bangladesh reflects that 91% government offices inside Dhaka city have their own website. But very few interactive online services are introduced for citizens. In this regard, it is to be mentioned that an accessible...
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