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Minister Damjan Manchevski Participates in Public Event "Digital Challenges for Social Transformation“

Skopje, 9 July 2020

Today’s first public event “Digital Challenges for Social Transformation” included remarks from Minister of Information Society and Administration Damjan Manchevski, Sonja Filipovska, PhD, full-time professor at FCSE, and Bojan Kordalov, public relations and new media specialist and coordinator of the Transparency and Digitalization Programme under IDUEP.

Minister Manchevski focused on the three ongoing key matters in terms of digitalization and on future plans in that regard.

“We have set all the blocks, elements of digitalization in the public sector. Those include the Interoperability system, Electronic Services Portal and Electronic Population Register. These are the main three blocks. Now, our challenge is to work on usability of the percent of utilization”, stressed Minister Manchevski.

According to the minister, in terms of Interoperability, it is a very high capacity utilization, i.e. approximately 30 institutions and talks should take place for capacity expansion. In terms of utilization of the National e-Services Portal, as he said, activities should be taken towards greater utilization, given that 20 thousand users are active at present.

In terms of challenges, as Minister Manchevski said, not all key databases are digitalized. Thus, yesterday, an initial meeting was held to discuss digitalization of key registers of state institutions, for citizens and for businesses.

“The third challenge is to initiate and establish 5G technology, because without that we would remain at this digitalization level, whereby 5G would imply larger flow of information, larger quantity and speed and only that would be able to provide Internet of Things, smart cities etc. How fast would some matters be implemented depends solely on us. They require more serious engagement and support from international institutions”, said Manchevski.

“At present, we provide 136 electronic services via the portal uslugi.gov.mk. That accounts for 18% of all services that are in place in the country. Now, we are initiating a new project that anticipates 250 additional electronic services and digitalization of key registers. I am convinced, I am an optimist that next year we would be able to talk about 400, 500 electronic services”, noted Minister Manchevski.

Bojan Kordalov noted that there is a need to view digitalization in all social aspects as positive process aimed towards the needs and requests of citizens.

“Digitalization should unite us all, and the corona-crisis further emphasized that. This is a process that must not divide or to be used to score political points. With each day, delay in implementation of greater digitalization implies fewer opportunities for each of our citizens“, noted Kordalov.

Digitalization also plays an important role in the fight against fake news, believes Kordalov, who added that not bringing digitalization as a benefit closer to the citizens further widens the space for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories on this topic.

For Sonja Filipovska, FCSE professor, benefits of the 5G technology also imply faster and improved services, whereas the scope, i.e. amount and power of radiation is similar to that of wireless internet, and thus there is no need to panic. She also stressed the importance of raising the level of digital literacy, noting that FSCE has introduced new study programmes in that regard, with a view to encourage digitalization.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration