Citizens still prefer the traditional approach to public administration services as opposed to electronic services, according to a survey on the use of e-services between citizens and businesses, conducted by the IPSOS Agency within a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Ministry of Public Administration in partnership with the Programme United Nations Development Organisation (UNDP). More than 60% of respondents would prefer to go to the counter, regardless of whether the e-services cost the same or are cheaper. However, the situation is completely different when it comes to companies, of which more than 75% (over three-quarters) opt for electronic services regardless of the price.
A survey presented at InfoFest found that as many as three quarters of citizens do not use e-services. However, among those who do use them, about 73% were satisfied with the services provided.
The Minister of Public Administration, Suzana Pribilovic, pointed out that the results of this research will significantly contribute to understanding the situation in the field of eGovernment development in Montenegro.
“The eGovernment portal, managed by the Ministry of Public Administration, is a central place for the provision of eGovernment services. It currently has 567 services, and the number of requests submitted by citizens and businesses since the beginning of this year through the portal has increased by 43% over the same period compared to last year. This gives us the right to be optimistic about the further development of e-government services,” concluded Pribilovic.
The UNDP Resident Representative in Montenegro, Danijela Gasparikova, said that despite 75% of Montenegrin citizens using the Internet, this progress in the number of users is not equally widespread.
"It is estimated that only 30-45% of people over 60 use the internet. Although this gap is expected in different age groups, it is not something that is inevitable. For example, in Finland, almost 80% of people over 60 use the internet. In this regard, the implementation of the government's digitalisation strategies should follow a twofold approach: on the one hand, the number of digitally available services should be increased, and on the other hand the risks of exclusion of vulnerable groups should be managed," Gashparikova said.
The research was conducted as part of the EU-funded project "Supporting the Establishment of a More Transparent, Efficient, and Service-Oriented Public Administration" by the UNDP. This type of research was first conducted at the national level, taking into account the views of citizens, the ,economy and the public administration, and it is a starting point for further analysis of the development of e-government services in Montenegro.