MaltaToday: Oh myGov!
NEWS | Sunday, 20 January 2008

Oh myGov!

David Darmanin looks into the functionality and accessibility of services offered within the e-Government framework

As online government services have been increasing over the past seven years, the whole e-Gov brand may now sound more familiar to the man in the street. Frequently-used services, such as paying your fines or renewing your road license, need no introduction. Although not necessarily very lucrative to the exchequer, e-Gov services stand to favour the public with the reduction of queues, less bureaucracy and increased overall efficiency.
Little may be known about the full content and functionality of the services on offer. Chances are you have been using e-Gov services without knowing or that you may have looked for an existing e-Gov service and never found it. Here are a few examples.

E-xams and your results
Initially, e-Gov was mostly developed by MITTS, the government agency responsible for Malta’s IT infrastructure. In a recent press conference, Minister for IT and Investments Dr Austin Gatt claimed that when government used state-owned resources to develop e-Gov “it slowed us down and proved to be costly when compared to subcontracting to privately owned firms”. However, one of the e-Gov portals developed by MITTS in 2002 is still very popular in terms of functionality and accessibility. Students registering to may use an online method to apply for their exams, check exam timetables, pay exam fees and download maps and directions to examination centres. Students may also choose to receive their exam results via SMS.

E-Health and smoking cessation
Googling “smoking cessation course Malta” will not help much. Using the search facility with the same keywords and their variants will not take you anywhere. Up until a few months ago, the only ways to apply for a course to quit smoking was either to follow a link out of the many on, or by visiting – a comprehensive health portal that is hardly ever advertised.
In October 2007, the Government launched, as the official e-Government services portal that makes all online services accessible from one Internet address.
Unaccountably, however, there is no service that enables online registration to myGov Interested parties therefore have to go in person to the my-Gov offices in Valletta for a user ID.

Job Seekers
Users of the ETC portal may not know that the and its widely used job search facilities form an integral part of the e-Government framework. Registering to this portal will enable the job seeker to receive a daily email update with a comprehensive list of new vacancies in the local and international job market. On this portal, employers may also browse through CVs uploaded by job seekers themselves.

Filing a complaint to your local council by means of snail-mail may not bear the desired fruit immediately. Phoning may increase the complainant’s frustration due to the fact that on a number of times, the person on the other end of the line would not have the executive power to act on the complaint, or for that matter to pass you through to the person in charge. The complaints form featured on is not necessarily flawless, but at least e-Gov offers another channel to forward complaints through.

VAT and contraventions
One of the many things most of the self-employed must adhere to is the timely submission of VAT returns, since late entries may be subject to hefty fines. Ironically, if you park on the main road leading to the main entrance of the VAT department, the chances are you will be fined anyway. Registering to will enable the user to submit VAT returns and their respective transactions. Failing to do so, will help you pay your parking contravention online.

Recent and future developments
This week, MITI announced an alliance with 14 privately-owned software development and consultancy firms with which all public services will feature online by 2010. MyForms, one of the projects included in this alliance, aims to create online interactive equivalents for all of Government’s forms. Also in the pipeline is a payment gateway, tagged as myBills, which shall act as a central function enabling the payment of bills issued by the public sector.
By visiting, one may browse through a list of 28 e-Gov services split into nine different categories. The featured sectors for the elderly and the disabled are not being counted, since sadly, clicking on either of them will only take you to the government’s official website.


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