Although the Irembo e-portal has been praised for its instrumental contribution in bridging the government-to-citizen service delivery gap and lowering corruption rates due to the elimination of human-to-human contact, there are still some challenges.
By Nasra Bishumba
Ten years ago, 58-year-old Pascaline Nikuze needed a passport that would enable her to fly to Zambia for a reunion that was almost two decades in the making. To begin the process to acquire the passport, Nikuze was required to leave her home in Ngarama Sector, Gatsibo district in Eastern Province at 3 am to ensure that she made it to the Kiramuruzi sector office early enough to beat the long queue.
Today, depending on her digital literacy skills, Nikuze, who is interested in renewing her passport, does not have to go through this ordeal. All Nikuze requires is a smartphone or laptop and a good internet connection to log into the IremboGov portal, apply, pay the required fees, and have any document that she needs at her disposal automatically, or within 72 hours.
Launched in July 2015, IremboGov is a government-to-citizen web-based platform that allows citizens and foreigners to seamlessly apply for and pay for a range of public services including community-based health insurance, driving test registration, visa, and national ID applications, among others.
And by January 2020, at least 98 non-fiscal services representing 19 government ministries and agencies were available on the platform. Irembo relies heavily on citizen-integrated data that is already available in the government database to deliver services to over eight million Rwandans both at home and in the diaspora. In turn, this contributes to the government’s plan to eventually go paperless.