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Olga DRACHEVSKA: Paperless mode in operation

Digitalization today is amongst the key factors for the economic growth of Ukraine. Especially acute demand for e-services the business felt within "Corona crisis" the year 2020, as quarantine restrictions embarrassed business processes. In these circumstances, the Parliament had to provide fastly the laws to regulate e-services associated matters. Thus, considering the modern development trends and social demand, on August 06, 2021, the president of Ukraine has approved the Law "On Peculiarities of Public (Electronic Public) Services" (the Law of Ukraine No. 1689-IX), passed by the Verkhovna Rada on July 15, 2021.

The novelty of Law of Ukraine No. 1689-IX is the introduction of "digital public service" equated to results obtained on the paper bearer. Thanks to it, Ukraine comes to paperless mode. The paperless mode shall minimize, and later – completely set aside paper document flow in the state. Law of Ukraine No. 1689-IX comes into force on November 07, 2021. By this date, the Government has to approve a schedule to bring public services into e-form.

According to article 1 of the Law of Ukraine 1689-IX, electronic public services are services rendered by state government authorities, local self-government authorities, entities, institutions, organizations, managed thereby, including administrative services (also in automatic mode), provided through informational and telecommunication systems, on the grounds of an application (reference, request) submitted in e-form through informational and telecommunication systems (including the same through the Unified State Electronic Services Portal), or without such an application (reference, request).  In other words, any citizen will be able to get e-service automatically, without any intrusion of an officer to avoid the human factor. We hope that the e-services implementation can reduce corruption elements. E-form minimizes corruption options due to the complete transparency of the procedure. 

For instance, the system tracks each application; it determines if the applicant has met all the requirements to get the service. It means that an officer can't reject any application for personal reasons, as the system registers every step.

Promptness – an advantage of e-services. For more convenience, a business entity can get several services at once by a single application. It is predetermined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine's Provision No.808 of August 04, 2021, implementing the new electronic service – "e-Business". Having submitted a single application through a "single-window" on the Diia portal, a business person can: register the business (as an individual entrepreneur or LLC); get registered at a tax inspection (as a unified tax or VAT payer); to obtain licenses, including those for retail and bulk trade in goods.

The complex approach has shown positive results in sets of services for parents of newborns – “e-Maliatko” (e-Baby). With a single online application, one can register the birth of a child and get up to 9 services from different authorities after a child is born.

Today, the Diia portal has 54 online state services available. The Law of Ukraine No.1689-IX is a frame-type one. It means that the Digital Transformation Ministry will be able to launch different electronic services automatically. A frame-type law requires no alterations to introduce every specific new service. The Digital Transformation Ministry set ambitious goals – to digitalize 100% of state services by 2024. 

What happens with paper documents?  Ukrainians have a deep conviction that "original" documents are compulsory to have, for instance, for tax audits. At that, "originals" are paper documents with an imprint of a company seal and a signature. Please pay attention: article 7 of the Law of Ukraine "On Electronic Documents and Electronic Document Flow" treats any document confirmed with an electronic-digital signature or qualified electronic signature as an original. And article 8 of the same Law prohibits discharging the legal force of an electronic document just because it has no paper bearer. At the same time, the laws of Ukraine do not demand to keep e-documents printed on paper.

Returning to advantages of Law of Ukraine No. 1689-ІХ, I can’t ignore the economic effect of online administrative services implementation. Indicative therefor is the report by the BRDO on economic potentials of e-services in 2020, declaring that if all users got the BRDO-studied services only online, they would decrease their annual expenses by 495 mln UAH (or 63%, compared to offline-form changes) – from 790 to 295 mln UAH. The largest share of the savings would belong to individuals (individual entrepreneurs included). The explanation is that savings per a single user don't differ significantly between the services, while the frequency of these services' use is reasonably higher.

To sum up, I would like to say that electronic public services are convenient, modern, and fast. Thanks to the implementation of e-services, a business person may get all required statements at a glance, undersign or amend statutory documents from home. Since the Law of Ukraine No. 1689-ІХ coming into force, it will become illegal for a state authority to demand paper documents from Ukrainians if the respective information exists on electronic registers. The Digital Ministry focuses on such kind of digitalization. 

Essential is the Trembita system's improvement. Since 2019, it connects the registers and informational systems of state government authorities.

Could three months be enough to launch all full-featured digital public services? This question is rhetoric…  In my opinion, the paperless mode can finally finish the epoch of long queues and reams of papers, to save time and nerves of our people.

With optimism and hope – to the digital future of Ukraine!

The world of digital technologies is a new step not only for human technique but for the whole legal and socio-political reality.  

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