How is the Lebanese Government treating your most vital information?

When I woke up that day and headed to a public office to get an official Family Register (why does that still exist by the way?), I had no clue that my visit to this governmental institution would be very similar to a trip to the National Museum!

Arriving to the official building holding all our identification papers and what I naively thought was a primitive national database connected to an old computer, I was shocked to witness an even worse reality.

Stacked behind the counter were piles of paper thrown next to the dusty old furniture and almost disintegrating into the walls like manuscripts from an old Nefertiti tomb.

Since a photo is worth a thousand word, here is some of what my camera was able to catch.

government papers digital e-government lebanon

e-gov digitization paper official public lebanon

public database mobile electronic digital government lebanon

With all honesty, I have no idea what these envelopes contain; but at this sight, we cannot help but ask ourselves:

  • Is our most vital data (ID, Registry Documents, Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, etc…) treated in the same horrific manner?
  • What does such a scene reflect about our Nation?
  • Why are we still in a paper-based system while our toddlers are already using Tablets and Mobiles? What is the ecological and financial damage of this “print” culture?
  • Most importantly, who is to blame?

As everyone may guess, it’s not the public employees’ fault; the problem is in the system.

But should we blame all the political system for refusing to make our government an e-government while many Arab countries are currently moving into an even newer mobile based m-government?

To answer that question, let us first agree that for a country to evolve, citizens should always avoid generalization, search for the truth and judge fairly each public official based on his/her actions.

During the tenure of Minister of Telecoms Nicolas Sehnaoui, his team had in fact proposed a digitization plan for the Lebanese Government as part of a 5 year strategy prepared by the international consultants firm Booz and Co. for the Lebanese Ministry of Telecoms and sent to the Council of Ministers but never put on the Agenda by Prime Minister Mikati.

Blog of the Boss releases for the first time a screenshot from this valuable blueprint.

telecoms nicolas sehnaoui digitization plan booz e-government

Unfortunately, this plan is currently sleeping passively in a drawer, probably among other stacks of old dusty documents, somewhere at the Council of Ministers; a priceless document rendered useless, just like the hopes and dreams of many Lebanese.

Since Prime Minister Salam is now running the new cabinet, a message from a young Lebanese guy who still dares to hope: Dear Prime Minister Salam, can you please take our dream of a modern E-Government out of that drawer?

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