Guyana: Govt. transactions sluggish; generate cost for both citizens and firms – IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has reported that Guyana is the lowest ranked country in Latin America when it comes to the speedy services when transacting businesses with Government institutions.

Doing such requires a lot of effort; from waiting at counters, filling forms reading communications, seeking information, sending letters or even learning to use a new system or website. In brief are all time consuming.
According to the 2019 data supplied by Transparency International citizens spend an average of five hours, and sometimes three or more visits to get one transaction completed.           

This paints a gloomier picture which includes waiting in lines and at the counters, excluding the time spent waiting for a resolution. The time may vary depending on the type of transaction.

Requesting Birth Certificates, registering a property, etc. are all transactions that fulfill basic functions but are difficult to attain. Most of the Government transactions that were conducted in the last 12 months were vehicle-related–driver’s license, license plate registration, identity and civil registration.

It is a sharp contrast, other functional documents that often act as primary means of identification. As it regards to the approach of channels used to conduct these transactions 89% were carried out in person while a mere 15% was done completely and partially online.

On completing these transactions when looking at the differences, Health and Education are by far the most discouraging sectors as they reported a five-hour on average transaction.

Persons are often asked to visit different offices to obtain information which other Government agencies lack. Adding to that, the transactions will require more interactions sometimes mounting up to the existence of excessive requirements resulting in the need to carry out additional transactions and creating a “chain of transactions.”

The multiple transactions then generate transaction costs for citizens even if every individual visit is short, as citizens must spend their time and resources commuting to public offices, asking multiple times to leave work, among other costs.

In addition to the difficulties for citizens, these multiple interactions also imply efficient losses for the government, which is forced to earmark more resources for providing citizen services.

This raises questions about attrition, it is plausible that the more interaction a transaction requires the greater probability of having people abandon the process.

Given the fact that carrying out a business transaction is difficult, it would be natural if the levels of citizens’ satisfaction with transactions are affected. Satisfaction falls as the time spent doing these transaction increases, marked as a consistent trend.

The one possible explanation, citizens are made to understand these difficulties are casual factors manifested in requirements and paper work, as a proxy for protection against fraud. In the low trust environment, they accept and sometimes even applaud the high transactional burden as a means to protect public services, and therefore their individual access to them from other “untrustworthy” citizens.

To prevent some of these instances some recommendations were made by the IDB; to redesign Government transactions with the citizens experience in mind, eliminate as many Government transactions as possible; a once-only initiative and to study the citizens experience with government transactions.

“Few things are more frustrating for citizens than enduring the seemingly unending barrage of paperwork, lines, and delays in accessing the many public services. Government institutions can put citizens in the centre and make accessing public services easier.

Government agencies can make an effective use of information. Government institutes can present a unified face to the citizens and act as one,” IDB reports.

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On December 30, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Interesting analysis

    Simple Simon says
    Set a thief to catch a thief.

    When corruption is endemic in society
    every citizen is a suspected criminal.
    Hence the bureaucracy in government.

    Solution
    Legislate and regulate with fines/community
    service for those who try to “bribe” law enforcers.

    Let’s see what happens after 3 March
    But don’t hold your breadth !
    Change will come “eventually”

    From within influenced by us in the diaspora

    Kamtan 🇬🇧🇬🇾🇪🇸🇬🇧👽

  • Curtis  On December 30, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I go with “JAIL” for those bribing Law Enforcers and for the Law Enforcers who accept the bribes. Fines and Community Service is not a deterrent for these types.

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