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KRG Takes Further Steps to Digitalise Public Services, Increasing Efficiency

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has implemented the Citizen Complaint System as part of a broader digital transformation plan under the Ninth Cabinet. This initiative aims to reduce the use of paper and routine procedures while valuing the time and rights of citizens. Since its inception, the cabinet has promised to establish democratic good governance that relies on efficient digital technology.

The initial idea behind the Citizen Complaint System stems from the rules and regulations of the Council of Ministers. These stipulate that registering complaints made by the public, government institutions and employees falls under the Diwan's duties at the Council of Ministers. In its first meeting, the Council of Ministers, directed by the Prime Minister, instructed all government institutions to assist the Diwan in making the system functional. They decided that an efficient system must be established for complaint registration to deal with public complaints adequately. Previously, making complaints was a paper-based procedure, costly and time-consuming, and added an extra burden on the public. Citizens had to physically visit the Diwan and other government offices to register their complaints, a system that failed as feedback was rarely provided. Therefore, the KRG created a centralised digital registration system linked to the Diwan of the Council of Ministers. The Department of Technology and Information designed this platform, enabling citizens to register complaints and receive prompt responses.

Mehdi Saleh Azhgae, the manager of the Directorate of Citizen Complaint System, stated that the procedure relies on a centralised system connecting the Presidency of the Council of Ministers to all KRG ministries and government institutions. He explained that citizens must write proper details and add attachments and relevant documents when registering a complaint against any governmental body. The citizens will receive a response through the email and phone number they provided during registration.

The officials at the Directorate of Citizen Complaint System have three main roles:

- Finding answers for the registered complaints and updating the relevant complainants.
- Receiving complaints and referring them to the appropriate ministries and governmental bodies through the Council of Ministers.
- Monitoring the progress of complaints made against the ministries.

The Kurdistan Regional Government continues to digitalise public services, and the Citizen Complaint System is among the new additions to transform public services introduced under the ninth cabinet.

Hiwa Afandi, the director of the Department of Information Technology, said that the World Bank's criteria for measuring digital transformation in any country includes the use of digitalisation to strengthen democracy. The KRG works within this framework, and the creation of the Citizen Complaint System enables the public's voice to reach the top hierarchy of government institutions. The role of the Department of Information Technology was to replace the previous paper-based system with a centralised electronic one, as requested and advised by the Council of Ministers. The department is the technical brain behind the system and is responsible for its maintenance and development, while the Directorate of Diwan at the Council of Ministers owns the system.

Afandi added that this process is continuous and part of the KRG's digital transformation directed by the Prime Minister. It aims to transform all KRG institutions technologically and end paper-based systems by 2025. For this purpose, the Electronic Signature Bill was recently approved by the Kurdistan Parliament to enable the new system to take the lead.

The ninth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government sees digital transformation as an essential step for change and progress, now being implemented across public sector services, such as population information, payroll, expenditure, and company registration.