Kyrgyzstan aims to be in the forefront of digitalization in Central Asia

BISHKEK (TCA) — “Our goal is to bring our country to the forefront of digitalization in the region,” Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov said at the first telecommunications forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan: Regional Development” held in Osh on April 22.

In early January, President Jeenbekov declared 2019 the Year of Regional Development and Digitalization of Kyrgyzstan.

Three development directions

In the near future, Kyrgyzstan’s digital economy development will be conducted in three priority areas, the President said.

The first one is aimed at the digital transformation of business processes in the financial and banking sector, as well as the improvement of the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic companies.

The second direction provides for the use of digital economy strategies of the partner countries, including the Digital Agenda 2025 of the Eurasian Economic Union and creation of the digital Great Silk Road through the One Belt, One Road program.

The third area includes the reduction of obstacles to the digital technologies’ development.

The implementation of these goals will expand the markets for the private sector and create new types of goods and services and new economic clusters in the country.
The State will ensure conditions for investments to stimulate the national digital infrastructure, the President promised.

Earlier this year, the Security Council of Kyrgyzstan approved the digital transformation concept “Digital Kyrgyzstan 2019-2023” and a roadmap for its implementation.

Tunduk system

By the end of 2019, unnecessary documentary procedures should be eliminated through the Tunduk system of interdepartmental electronic interaction. As a result, the practice of requiring additional reporting, references and documents will cease, President Jeenbekov said. Any transaction going through Tunduk is automatically signed and becomes a document.

Despite the fact that this work began in 2016, it has not yet been completed. It is necessary to complete transferring of 189 public services to the electronic format.
State bodies, local governments and business structures will work only through Tunduk and will no longer use paper documents, the President concluded adding that this issue is under his personal control.

The President ordered the National Bank to provide the regions with electronic payment and mobile banking services.

Safe City and data centers

The second phase of the Safe City project has begun. Within the Digital CASA project, the provision of regions with Internet and construction of regional data centers will be accelerated.

President Jeenbekov advised to enhance cooperation of academic and business structures through innovation centers, where entrepreneurs could develop innovative solutions beneficial for both the businesses and the State, and invest in new pilot projects. Higher educational institutions should become sites for start-ups testing new training modules.

The broad involvement of citizens in the process of making state and municipal decisions through digital transformation is the call of the time, the President stressed.

IT companies’ contribution

Recently, communications companies have made a huge contribution to the sector’s development. At the end of 2018, tax revenues from telecommunications companies amounted to more than 5.8 billion soms.

Modern technologies are being introduced in personalization of mobile subscribers, e-commerce, and mobile payments.

It is necessary to continue work on increasing transparency and creating a favorable investment climate, Jeenbekov said.

Telecommunication companies will become the main force and the main support in creating the information society. Realization of these tasks requires changes in public administration, the creation of strong industry regulators and the updating of the regulatory framework. The President urged business representatives to actively participate in this process.

Local budgets

“No region of the country should be left without communication. Otherwise, it is impossible to create Digital Kyrgyzstan,” President Jeenbekov said and informed on the State’s measures to support the regions.

As part of the gradual transfer of the income tax share to the local budgets, 2.1 billion soms will be additionally allocated to local budgets through income taxes in 2019.

In addition, 2 billion soms will be provided for the regional development from the national budget. It is necessary to introduce the mechanism of using these funds.

According to the President, industrial enterprises opened in subsidized regions are exempt from income tax, sales tax, land tax and property tax for a period from five to ten years.

Entrepreneurs involved in the import of technological equipment are exempt from customs duties.

IT technologies in healthcare

Through the use of modern information technologies in healthcare, the ambulance service will change dramatically, the President said.

By December 2019, the implementation of the automated control system of the Bishkek ambulance service should be completed. This project will start working in Osh and Karakol cities from 2020, and later it will be introduced in other cities.

“Every person, every family should have access to a family doctor and nurse. Therefore, the activities of family healthcare centers will be organized in a completely new way,” the President said.

These centers will serve the population around the clock. To do this, it is necessary to implement online counseling services via the Internet and telephone, as well as to introduce a system of electronic queues.

This pilot project will be launched in Bishkek from July 2019.

Smart School project

Under the Smart School project, it is necessary to digitize the basic processes in schools. As a part of this project, an electronic queue will be introduced for the admission of students to schools.

Control over teachers and students’ learning process will be digitized.

To this end, the Government has to complete connecting the remaining schools to the Internet by June 1, 2019. Currently, 86 percent of schools in the country are already covered by the Internet.

All socially significant institutions will also be connecting to the Internet.

Eliminating barriers to business development

“Through modern technologies we will be able to eliminate obstacles to the business development,” said the President.

The transition to the electronic provision of licenses and permits from the Government, which began in 2015, has not been completed.

The Energy Map project introduced at the suggestion of entrepreneurs from the electricity sector has not earned full force so far. This map has not been updated since 2017, and there are obstacles for entrepreneurs when connecting to electrical networks.

Closing procedure for discontinued enterprises is complicated. Procedures for the use of electronic digital signature in the provision of electronic tax reporting are inconvenient.

Different standards in the use of crypto codes lead to confusion in the software. The President ordered the government agencies to uniform standards for digital signatures and to create an enabling environment for citizens and businesses.

He also tasked the State Agency for Architecture, Construction and Housing to fully introduce a single window before November 1, 2019. This project is already operating in the pilot mode.

All government agencies that provide services to citizens and businesses should complete creating an electronic archive in a short time, the President concluded.