Irembo further eases online public services delivery

An Irembo employee explains how the portal works in Kigali on March 18, 2019./ Photo: E. Kwizera.

Irembo Ltd, a gateway to Rwandan government services, has unveiled an upgraded version of its technology platform (IremboGov), further easing the way people access public services.

For the past year, a team of engineers and product developers at Irembo Ltd has been working to improve public service delivery.

According to Faith Keza, the Chief Executive Officer, they evaluated every service and how it is was being accessed by ordinary citizens, which informed the upgrade of the existing platform.

The upgrade, she said, has reduced the number of steps taken to process documents online. It also lessened the number of attachments required to get the service, making the application process seamless.

The new platform also has the capacity to provide electronic certificates.

Keza compares Irembo to a kind of public utility that needs maintenance and upgrade.

“If you think about technology in the same way, nowadays we need to upgrade technology much faster to improve standards and user experience,” she told The New Times in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

“What we knew was great in 2015 is not great anymore. The users need better services across the board, so we went services by services asking ourselves whether they make sense in 2020,” she added.

The upgrade

Among others, the chief executive says, the platform didn’t necessarily reduce the human interaction aspect.

“In 2015 when we were starting, the reality was, for me to give you a service, I needed to see you face to face. Really Irembo did not change that, what it did was to make sure that there is an easy exchange of information and payment of service,” she noted.

Five years down the road, services providers still expect to see you for them to serve you, but Keza believes it is high time to move away from that idea and start relying on various technology infrastructure the government has invested in.

“The platform we are unveiling doesn’t require you to go to any government office to get things like marriage, single or birth certificates. Almost everything that will be online won’t need any signature so it allows people to access services from home,” she said.

User experience

According to Irembo, the new platform will also enhance user experience as it will bring down the number of processes required to go through for one to get the service.

Previously, one was required to physically go to a service provider to confirm their identity, but with the upgraded portal your phone number will act as your identity that qualifies you to get any service.

“This time we shall only interact with your phone number that is registered in your national ID system. That is a security feature because we’ll now send you a message to verify that it’s you so that we can give you access to your information online,” she explained.

Currently, 22 services have already been migrated to the new portal and Irembo says in the next six months all the services will be online.

To use the new platform, users will be required to make fresh registration to allow for security checks.

Irembo also expects the next phase will focus on making it easier for feature phone users to access the services.

Background

Irembo was established in 2015 as part of the Government’s strategy to find an effective way of delivering government services to citizens.

The first service came onboard in July 2015 and since then at least 97 services have been added to the platform, a huge reap forward towards full digitalisation of government processes of service delivery.

According to the company, 8 million people have been served, 18 public institutions are onboard, and more than 70,000 electronic certificates have been delivered.

That has reduced the number of time people take to get the services.

A rough estimate by Irembo indicates that the presence of a centralised platform helped people save more than 24 million hours of going to the offices and banks to pay for services in the last five years.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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