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Taiwan Aims for E-Government

Taiwan's government is endeavoring to make full use of the Internet to boost its efficiency and enhance the island's competitive edge, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported this week.

The government has been promoting computerization of its services for eight years, Wei Chi-ling, chairman of Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan, told a forum with the private sector.

Wei said the building of an online government was designated a major infrastructure project in 1997. In addition to the RDEC, two cabinet-level agencies -- the Central Personnel Administration and the Council for Economic Planning and Development -- are at the forefront of promoting government efficiency.

One of CPA's projects, which started one and a half years ago, is to put 13 public services online in a so-called "full service window." Among the services would be household registration (which encompasses voter registration, land tax and schooling matters) and business registration. The online service is to be fully transparent to maintain credibility and avoid abuse.

By the end of next year, Wei said, Taiwan will hopefully have an "intelligent" government. Citizens will be able to identify themselves online so that government agencies can open the relevant files and deal with the inquiry. Such a service will be available in government offices islandwide.

The civil servant of tomorrow will have to be capable of doing his job entirely over the Internet, Wei emphasized.

E-commerce is another strategy the government plans to embrace. Government procurement will be done online. Suppliers will be paid electronically.

Wei also revealed that the government plans to put all its publications online. The distribution of digital publications will be governed by an online bookstore to be administered by the government.

The Government Information Office already publishes an English-language electronic newspaper every weekday, and the Office of the President has a comprehensive Web site.