Paying Fines, A Bureaucracy Nightmare

This morning, I had to go pay a fine for passing the due date to pay the road tax. Actually the fine wasn’t for that, it was for being caught 😛
Anyway, it was a bureaucracy disaster.

I had to go to an office of the Ministry of Finance in Sidi Bashir, one of the most crowded places in downtown Tunis. There they gave me a piece of paper and told me to go to “Rue d’Angleterre (England Road)” to pay the fine and then come back to them.
On foot, that’s like a quarter hour walk away, and in car it takes longer because you’d have to drive around all of busy downtown Tunis to get there.
So I curse the hell out of the police man who gave me the fine on my way there, pay the fine, then go back to the office where I started. There they give me back my car papers and tell me to go back to “Rue d’Angleterre” to pay the road tax. Aaaarrrggghhh!


I go on back there and they tell me there’s a problem with my car’s details in the system and that I have to go to the “Service 10000” office in Lafayette (over half hour drive away in really busy traffic) to get them fixed.
I go there, they tell me everything is right in their system and that I have to go to the place where I first paid the road tax so that they can fix the problem. That is La Marsa, 25 Kms away. Nice!!

I drive there and they find the mistake, keep me waiting while they make all these phone calls to figure out how to fix it and then they sort things out, let me pay the tax and set me free.

Of course, this is how bureaucracy is almost everywhere in the world.
Anyway in Tunisia there have been really great experiments with unified counters for some procedures, where you go to only one place and you find everyone and everything you need to get your procedure done from A to Z without running around the city from place to place.
I had a very good experience with such a unified counter when I was getting my car’s customs papers done.

Other experiments are underway to provide services and procedures online in an e-government manner (such as filing taxes, social security services, …etc), which would be really cool.

I really hope that soon all procedures will either go through unified counters or through the internet. It would make all our lives a lot easier and would make the whole process a lot more efficient and faster.

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