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Information and Communication Technologies

بهبود مدیریت مالی واستفاده از تکنالوژی باعث تأمین شفافیت واعتماد سازی در افغانستان گردیده است

Mohammad Zaher Ebadi's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
Many government civil servants are now using technology to improve transparency and credibility of government offices in Kandahar Province.
اکنون بسیاری از کارکنان مُلکی دولت با استفاده از تکنالوژی قادر به تأمین شفافیت در ارایه خدمات و اعاده اعتماد بالای دفاتر دولتی در ولایت کندهار گردیده اند. تصویر: تایمنی فلم/ بانک جهانی

استفاده از تکنالوژی در شماری زیادی از دفاتر و ادارات دولتی افغانستان هنوز هم به مثابه یک معیار و نورم رایج نگردیده است. با اینحال، مستوفیت ولایت کندهار، که بیشتر به عنوان یک ولایت نا امن محسوب میشود، با این وسایل تجهیز گردیده و در حال حاضر در نتیجهء تسهیلات بوجود آمده  شفافیت و اعتماد بالای خدمات و فعالیت های دفاتر دولتی افزایش یافته است.

مالیات به مثابه بنیاد اقتصاد هر کشور محسوب میشود. روی این ملحوظ تأمین شفافیت در ساختار های مالیاتی نقش کلیدی را در راستای تأمین اعتماد مالیه دهندگان و تمویل کننده گان بین المللی بالای پروسه های انکشافی ایفا میکند. با توجه به اهمیت این موضوع، تصمیم گرفتیم، تا طرح سیستم مدیریت معلومات مالی افغانستان و سیستم اداره واحد مالیات دولتی را در تحت قیادت و رهبری وزارت مالیه به کمک پروژه اصلاحات مدیریت مالی که از سوی صندوق بازسازی افغانستان تمویل میشود، تطبیق نمائیم. قابل یاد آوریست که ایجاد سیستم اداره واحد مالیات دولتی نیز به حمایت پروگرام مشوقه های صندوق بازسازی افغانستان حمایت گردیده است.

از سال ۲۰۰۷ بدینطرف، زمانی که ما قادر به استفاده از سیستم مدیریت معلومات مالی افغانستان گردیدیم، توانستیم، تا تمام فعالیت های مربوط به مدیریت و تطبیق بودجه، جمع آوری مالیات و پرداخت معاشات را مطابق زمان بندی دقیق آن اجرا نمایم. سیستم مجهز کمپیوتری در سیستم مدیریت معلومات مالی افغانستان زمینه دسترسی کاربران متعدد را به گونه گسترده به معلومات مالی و ثبت در هر محل و هر زمان میسر میسازد. این درحالیست که دسترسی به این اطلاعات در سیستم های ثبت معلومات در اوراق ژورنال ها به گونه سنتی ممکن نبود.

د افغانستان په مالي مدیریت کې ښه والی او له تکنالوژۍ څخه ګټه اخیستنه په چارو کې د ړونتیا او د باور جوړونې لامل ګرځیدلې

Mohammad Zaher Ebadi's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Many government civil servants are now using technology to improve transparency and credibility of government offices in Kandahar Province.
اوس مهال د دولت ډیری شمیر مُلکی کارکوونکي له تکنالوژۍ څخه په ګټه اخیستنې سره د خدمتونو په وړاندې کولو کې د ړونتیا د تامین او پر دولتي دفترونو د خلکو د ډاډ او باور په بیا ترلاسه کولو باندې توانیدلي دي. انځور: تایمنی فلم/ نړیوال بانک

د دولت په یو زیات شمیر دفترونو کې له تکنالوژۍ څخه ګټه اخیستنه اوس هم د یو معمول معیار او نورم په توګه نده ترویج شوی. خو په ورته مهال، د کندهار ولایت مستوفیت چې تر ډیره د یو نا امن ولایت په توګه یادیږي، په دغو وسایلو تجهیز شوی او اوسمهال د رامینځته شویو آسانتیاوو په پایله کې ړونتیا او د دولتي دفترونو پر خدماتو د باور کولو لړی یی پیاوړې کړې ده.

مالیه د هر هیواد د اقتصاد بنسټ بلل کیږي. له همدې کبله په مالي بنسټونو او ادارو کې د ړونیا تامین په پراختیايي چارو باندې د مالیه ورکوونکو او نړیوالو تمویل کوونکو لپاره د باور او ډاډ  په رامینځته کولو کې مهمه ونډه په غاړه لري. د دغې موضوع مهم والي ته په کتلو سره، موږ تصمیم ونیوه، چې افغانستان د مالي معلوماتو د مدیریت سیستم او د دولتي مالیاتو د واحده ادارې سیستم د مالیې وزارت تر مشري لاندې د مالي مدیریت د اصلاحاتو پروژې په ملاتړ، چې د افغانستان د بیارغونې صندوق لخوا تمویلیږي، رامینځته او تطبیق کړو. د یادولو وړ ده، چې د دولتي مالیاتو د واحده ادارې سیستم د افغانستان د بیارغونې صندوق د مشوقو پروګرام په ملاتړ تمویل شوی.

له ۲۰۰۷ زیږدیز کال راپدیخوا، کله چې موږ د افغانستان د مالي معلوماتو مدیریت له سیستم څخه په ګټه پورته کولو بریالي شولو، نو په دې وتوانیدلو، ترڅو د بودجې د مدیریت او تطبیق چارې، د مالیاتو راټولول او د تنخواوو ورکړه په ټاکل شوي وخت سره پلې کړو. د افغانستان د مالي معلوماتو مدیریت سیستم کې د مجهزو کمپیوتري آسانتیاوو له امله په یو وخت کې بیلابیل کسان په پراخه کچه کولی شي، چې مالي معلوماتو ته لاسرسۍ او د هغو ثبت په هر ځای کی او هر وخت کې پلي کړي. دا په داسې حال کې ده، چې د معلوماتو د پخواني ثبت سیستم له مخې چې په دودیزډول به په ژورنالونو کې لیکل کیدل، خورا ستونزمن و.

New financial management technologies improve transparency and trust in Afghanistan

Mohammad Zaher Ebadi's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Many government civil servants are now using technology to improve transparency and credibility of government offices in Kandahar Province.
Many government civil servants are now using technology to improve transparency and credibility of government offices in Kandahar Province. Photo credit: Taimani Films/World Bank

The use of technology in Afghanistan’s government offices is not yet the norm. However, in the Directorate of Ministry of Finance (Mostofiat) in Kandahar Province, a province associated more with insecurity than with technology, we have used the power of technology to improve transparency and credibility of government offices. 

Finance is the backbone of any country’s economy. Therefore, it is very important for it to be transparent and credible so that citizens as well as donors feel committed to the development process. With this in mind, we decided to implement the Afghanistan Financial Management Information System (AFMIS) and Standard Integrated Government Tax Administration System (SIGTAS), with the help of the Public Financial Management Reform (PFMR), a project implemented by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) with support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). SIGTAS was also supported through the ARTF Incentive Program.

Since 2007, when we started using AFMIS, we have been able to manage and execute budget-related activities, collect revenue, and pay salaries on time. A computerized system, AFMIS enables multiple users to access financial information and records, whenever and wherever they want. This was not possible with manual records.

Spotting fires from space helps India’s foresters

E. Vikram's picture
 Vikas Gusain (April 2017)
Almost all fires in India are set by people intentionally or unintentionally. Ground fire in Chir Pine forests in Gumkhal, Pauri Garwal District, Uttarakhand, India. Credit: Vikas Gusain (April 2017)

The three-day international workshop on forest fires organized by the World Bank and the Forest Ministry of India is a watershed event in the management of forest fires in the country (1-3rd November 2017). On the first day, discussions were held on the latest technology being used to alert foresters to fires.

Almost all fires in India are set by people intentionally or unintentionally. For instance, forest-dependent communities in central India burn the forest floor to encourage the growth of tender tendu leaves, and to collect mahua flowers which standout easily on the charred forest floor.

In the northeast and some parts of central India, forests are rotationally burnt to ashes to enrich the soil for agriculture. After a few seasons of cropping, the depleted area is left to nature and the trees grow back once again. In the western Himalayas, pine needles are cleared every year to encourage the growth of grass for cattle-fodder. When pine needles full of resin pile up year after year, it takes just one spark from a careless smoker to burn down an entire forest of enormous value.

In remote areas, forest fires may not be detected for hours or even days, leading to an irreversible loss of forest wealth. Like any other hazard, the earlier one gets to know about the outbreak, the better it is for both the authorities and the people. Since traditional ways of gathering information from people perched on watch towers are not very effective, satellite sensors that can detect heat and smoke from space have now come to the rescue of foresters across the country.   

Today, the Forest Survey of India, in partnership with the National Remote Sensing Centre, uses these satellite detections to alert foresters across the country about the exact location of forest fires. All steps in the detection and dissemination process have been fully automated – including the processing of satellite data, filtering out fires that burn outside forests, composing personalized SMSs to relevant people, as well as sending them across. This system has helped fire alerts to reach people within 45 minutes to 1 hour of detection, enabling foresters to reach the spot quickly and contain the damage.

Measuring South Asia’s economy from outer space

Martin Rama's picture
New technologies offer an opportunity to strengthen economic measurement. Evening luminosity observed from satellites has been shown to be a good proxy for economic activity.
New technologies offer an opportunity to strengthen economic measurement. Evening luminosity observed from satellites has been shown to be a good proxy for economic activity.
Economic growth is a key concern for economists, political leaders, and the broader population.

But how confident are we that the available data on economic activity paints an accurate picture of a country’s performance?

Measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the most standard measure of economic activity, is especially challenging in developing countries, where the informal sector is large and institutional constraints can be severe.

In addition, many countries only provide GDP measures annually and at the national level. Not surprisingly, GDP growth estimates are often met with skepticism.
 
New technologies offer an opportunity to strengthen economic measurement. Evening luminosity observed from satellites has been shown to be a good proxy for economic activity.

As shown in Figure 1, there is a strong correlation between nightlight intensity and GDP levels in South Asia: the higher the nightlight intensity on the horizontal axis, the stronger the economic activity on the vertical axis.
Figure 1 Nightlight intensity increases with economic activity
Figure 1 Nightlight intensity increases with economic activity

However, measuring nightlight is challenging and comes with a few caveats. Clouds, moonlight, and radiance from the sun can affect measurement accuracy, which then requires filtering and standardizing.

On the other hand, nighlight data has a lot advantages like being available in high-frequency and with a very high spatial resolution. In the latest edition of South Asia Economic Focus, we use variations in nightlight intensity to analyze economic trends and illustrate how this data can help predict GDP over time and across space.

Sri Lanka, you have a right to know!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Sri Lanka's Right to Information act (RTI) can help citizens hold governments accountable and encourage citizens to participate actively in their democracy.
Sri Lanka's Right to Information act (RTI) can help citizens hold governments accountable and encourage citizens to participate actively in their democracy.


Today, the world marks the International Day for the Universal Access to Information. Fittingly, we in Sri Lanka, celebrate 7 months since the Right to Information (RTI) Bill was enacted.  

The product of a slow and steady reform process, RTI is a milestone in Sri Lanka’s history.

Yet how many citizens know about its benefits?

As open access to information takes international center stage today, I’m hoping Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Bill, one of the world’s most comprehensive, will get the attention it deserves.

There is indeed much to celebrate.

Civil society organizations and private citizens are putting Sri Lanka’s RTI to the test. Diverse requests have been filed, from questions relating to how investments are made for the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to how soil and sand mining permits have been allotted in districts like Gampaha.

Interestingly, people living in rural areas are more aware -- and vocal -- of their rights to know than people in urban areas.

The government is making steady progress. In the last six months, more than 3,000 information officers have been recruited. An independent RTI Commission enforces compliance and acts on those who do not follow the law. If, for example, an information officer refuses to release information pertaining to a citizen’s life, they must provide a valid reason or face legal penalties.

In the next few years, the Sri Lankan bureaucracy faces the huge task of revamping its record management, including its land registration system. This reform is an opportunity to live up to RTI’s ambitions of open governance and help citizens access land title information and records that give them a legal title to their property.

Reforms Sri Lanka needs to boost its economy

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
 Joe Qian/World Bank
The Colombo Stock Exchange. Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank

Many Sri Lankans understand the potential benefits of lowering trade costs and making their country more competitive in the global economy. The majority, however, fear increased competition, the unfair advantage of the private sector from abroad and limited skills and innovation to compete.

Yet, Sri Lanka’s aspirations cannot be realized in the current status quo.  

While changes in trade policies and regulations will undeniably improve the lives of most citizens, I’m mindful that some are likely to lose. However, many potential gainers of the reforms who are currently opposed to them are unaware of their benefits.

Implementing smart reforms means that government funds will be used more effectively for the people, improve access to better healthcare, education, basic infrastructure and provide Sri Lankans with opportunities to get more and better jobs. Let me focus on a few reforms that I believe are critical for the country.  First, Sri Lanka needs to seek growth opportunities and foreign investment beyond its borders.    

First, Sri Lanka needs to seek growth opportunities and foreign investment beyond its borders.

Experience shows that no country in the world today has been able to create opportunities for its population entirely within its own geographic boundaries. To succeed in this open environment, Sri Lanka will need to improve its skills base, better understand supply and demand chains as well as produce higher quality goods and services

Experience shows that no country in the world today has been able to create opportunities for its population entirely within its own geographic boundaries. To succeed in this open environment, Sri Lanka will need to improve its skills base, better understand supply and demand chains as well as produce higher quality goods and services.

How can digital technology transform lives and improve opportunities in Bhutan?

Yoichiro Ishihara's picture
Tech Park
The recently opened Thimphu tech park – Bhutan’s first IT park -

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country located high in the eastern Himalayan mountain range with its population 760,000. Up until about 20 years ago, the country was isolated from the world; Bhutan’s first ever television broadcast occurred in 1999. Since then, information communications technology (ICT) has made rapid advancement. Mobile subscriptions increased from 0.4 per 100 people in 2003 to 87 in 2015. The proportion of people using the internet have increased from 0.1% in 1999 to 40% in 2015. Today, all 20 districts and 201 (out of 205) sub-districts are connected through fiber optic cables.

The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report on “
Digital Dividends” argues that digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Use of ICT for development is especially applicable to small states with populations of less than 1.5 million. Another report, “World Bank Group Engagement with Small States” finds that ICT investments can help reduce economic isolation, lessen barriers to trade, promote tourism, and improve mobility. These messages are highly relevant to Bhutan today.

The Government has enthusiastically adopted the use ICT to improve its services to its citizens as described in Bhutan ICT Roadmap and Bhutan E-Government Masterplan. The Government to Citizen (G2C) program, launched in 2005, provides a one-stop-shop for more than 100 services such as procuring a passport. The national ePayment Gateway Infrastructure, established by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), the central bank, has enabled citizens to pay for some public services online. Recently, the National Land Commission (NLC) launched eCitizen Portal - an online one-stop shop for transferring property titles online. This has reduced the number of days to transfer ownership of a property from 90 days to 62 days in the capital, Thimphu. More importantly, the NLC is reaching out to the private sector to seek feedback on how to improve its usability by piloting a feedback survey using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) tool for the first time in Bhutan. The government has also introduced an electronic government procurement system (e-GP) to make optimal use of resources. Given the size of the budget (exceeding 30 percent of GDP), the adoption of e-GP will contribute to effective use of public resources. The World Bank Group has been supporting these efforts through various instruments such as the second Development Policy Credit: Fiscal Sustainability and Investment Climate, which helped get the eCitizen Portal off the ground.

Pakistan bridges the gender divide by embracing a digital economy

Priya Chopra's picture
Registration at the Digital Youth Summit. DYS is an age and gender-inclusive diversified digital platform.
Photo Credit: Digital Youth Summit


Standing in line to sign up for the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar this May, I struck up a conversation with a young woman from Peshawar. I was pleasantly surprised by her level of interest and eagerness in participating at the tech conference.  She was keen to develop an app that would allow her to sell home-based food products at a national level.  She had already gathered a group of friends who would work with her on different aspects of task planning and implementation.  Her enthusiasm was palpable and infectious.  Born and raised in South Asia, I understand the constraints local women face in largely male dominated societies.  I was therefore heartened by the large turn-out of women queuing to enroll for the workshops.  

Six innovations from the Digital Youth Summit that inspired me

Joe Qian's picture
What do speakers say about the Digital Youth Summit?
What foreign speakers say about DYS17!

Foreign delegates to Digital Youth Summit 2017 reflect on their experiences, and the bright minds of youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Many thanks to all the foreign delegates for visiting Peshawar from May 5-7, 2017! #DYS17 #KPITB #KPGoesTech #KPWentTech Imran Khan (official)Shahram Khan Tarakai Official Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board - KPITB World Bank South Asia Jazz USAID Pakistan UNDP Pakistan Gloria Jean's Coffees Pakistan Anna O'Donnell Sam Bretzfield Iliana Montauk Justin Wong Alexander Ferguson Max Krueger Nicola Magri

Posted by Digital Youth Summit on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Entrepreneurs and technologists from Pakistan and around the world converged last week at the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) in Peshawar to share their knowledge, inspire local talent, and bring digital investments.

Over four days, 4,000 attendees, some as young as age 10, interacted with industry leaders, engaged in technology demonstrations, and benefitted from hands-on training. Everyone learnt a lot about digital entrepreneurship and was inspired by many cutting-edge innovations.

Here are six of them that struck a high note with me:
Most sessions at #DYS17 were livestreamed by Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK. Photo Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank
  1. Sessions on Facebook Live. Did you miss the summit, want to learn more about digital entrepreneurship, or simply want to relive highlights of DYS? Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK livestreamed many sessions at DYS. Inspired to start or grow your own business after watching the sessions? There are also resources to support you at the National Incubation Center and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Youth Employment Program!
     
    Travel Across Pakistan
     
  2. Travel Startups that made me want to travel across Pakistan. Let’s face it, I have a serious case of wanderlust and few things make me happier than going to new places, connecting with people, and gaining insights and perspectives I was unaware of before. For people outside of Pakistan may know of it as a country full of beauty and tourism potential. However, two of the winners of DYS’s Startup Cup in which budding companies presented their products and services to prospective investors changed my perspectives. Watch these two videos made by travel platform Find My Adventure and home-sharing company Qayyam and tell me if they also inspire you to travel across Pakistan!

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