Gasabo residents can afford to smile after their district became the first to issue a directive that all digitized government services shall be offered online.
The new development will see the valuable time spent acquiring documents such as land titles, birth and marriage certificates from the district offices, drastically reduced.
Today these services are offered through Irembo, an online eGovernment portal operated by RwandaOnline, a Rwandan private company in a Public Private Partnership with the Government of Rwanda.
By logging onto www.irembo.go.rw - or dialing *909# on your mobile phone - an applicant can request for the various digitized government services on offer.
Irembo is one of the technology-based initiatives undertaken by government to improve service delivery to its citizens.
The platform allows citizens and businesses to apply for services and also offers multiple electronic payment options including the popular Mobile Money from all three telecom operators.
The Mayor of Gasabo district, Stephen Rwamurangwa, said the development is in line with a vision of excellence in public service delivery:
“In a bid to offer improved and effective service, all people seeking civil registration services such as applications for land titles, birth certificate, marriage certificate, marital status certificate will be applying online using Irembo portal,” Rwamurangwa said.
“The physical process for civil registration services will no longer be applicable at the district and all the sectors,” he added.
The progress by Gasabo district is expected to catalyze change in other districts. However, some are not far off behind.
Eric Ndungutse, the civil registration officer of Byimana sector, Ruhango District, told The New Times that since they started offering the service online, they have continually witnessed a surge in the number of residents who apply online.
From January to March 2016, over 300 residents of Byimana have used the online portal to apply for dossiers.
“In Byimana sector, specifically citizens have embraced the use of technology for service, because it is effective and can be accessed anytime,” Ndugutse said.
“There is such a great difference on how we used to offer services before and now. Before, people would make several trips to the sector office to follow up on their applications but now they can easily follow the progress of their application via mobile phones updates,” Ndugutse added.
For those with no access to the internet, Irembo has contracted agents spread out across the country who help the communities they live or work in.
According to Byimana authorities, before adopting online services, civil registry books were not computerised, hence somewhat inaccurate, and verification would take longer in case one wanted to verify some information before issuing any given certificates to the applicants.
“The exercise is now faster and accurate with the linking of data details from National Identification agency, Jean Marrie Nahayo the executive secretary of Byimana said.
Clement Uwajeneza, the CEO of RwandaOnline Platform Limited, says the successful rollout of online service in the last few months has been made possible by the local leaders who have taken time to understand how and why to use e-services.