By Francis Emorut
A team of Ugandan town clerks and mayors is in Estonia, a former Soviet republic, on a study tour geared towards enhancing tourist attraction and e-governance in their towns.
The group which includes mayors of Jinja, Mbale, Entebbe and town clerks of Mukono, Jinja and others was flagged off recently by the commissioner of human resource development in the ministry of public service, Jane Kyarisiima at the ministry headquarters.
Kyarisiima implored the group to learn new innovations so that they can apply them and reduce the cost of doing business in Uganda.
During summer, Estonia receives tourists that double its population of 1.5 million people.
“What trick does the Estonian Government use to attract a great number of tourists that Uganda can learn from?” Enock Mutambi, the programme manager governance and public service at Civil Service College Uganda wondered.
The mayors and town clerks’ visit will also enable the team get expertise on how to develop e-governance, one-stop centres and information centres for their towns.
A bus drives on a street in Tallinn. PHOTO/AFP
The one-week-visit will see the mayors and town clerks tour Tallinn – the state’s capital and largest city – Saaremaa Island and visit the Cabinet office where using papers is a thing for the past as business is transacted via modern technology.
“In Cabinet office no one enters with paper. Most of their activities are paperless,” Mutambi explained.
Estonia, which got its independence in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union (now Russia) is a global leader as far as e-governance is concerned – all services are interlinked in one-stop centres, for example issuing of land titles, paying tuition fees and those for parking and others.
Issa Gumunyo, the acting commissioner of urban development in the ministry of local government pointed out that if the visiting town clerks and mayors get acquainted with the techniques the Estonian Government uses they would be in position to generate revenue for their districts.
“The Estonian approach is good and it is relevant as far as revenue collection for local districts is concerned.
“The local districts constantly complain that they don’t have capacity to generate their own revenue to provide service delivery to the people. This is your chance to explore ways of revenue collection” Gumunyo told the group.
Innocent Ahimisibwe, the town clerk of Mukono promised to implement the innovations he will acquire from Estonia in his district.