Sultanate’s future lies in its e-governance. This wise initiative of the government has the vision of transforming the nation into an advanced, world-class e-Government. The move is expected to integrate all ministries and government entities towards faster and more effective public services online. The move is also expected to facilitate better interaction between citizens, businesses and government.
The government had earlier announced establishing e-Government services and a national committee was set up along with Public Authority for Information Technology Authority (ITA). The ITA is a government authority responsible for establishing and running e-governance services. The Sultanate has rightly embarked on building e-Government services and works towards major operations and services. Though, there may be challenges and barriers, one expects the impasse to end soon.
The electronic transformation in different establishments offered by the government through ministries can be seen as an added value for the e-Government. This aims to further help the development process especially as it shortens time and effort. It also helps towards more accurate and transparent processes and aids computerisation in terms of achieving information and other aspects related to modern era.
The use of electronic networks has expanded rapidly. This has become widely available among all age groups and at all educational levels since it is considered as a means of conveying communication in an effective manner.
E-Government is defined as a modern system adopted by governments using the Internet towards linking different services to provide institutions and public to make accurate and fast transactions which must be transparent. In final effect, the aim is to have the quality of governance.
Also, to work effectively, it uses modern communication processes to make for smooth administration. This relates to all sectors including government establishments or public and private companies. It is for this reason, I am of the opinion that they have to include all the government sectors particularly those which provide the services to the public.
A positive factor of e-Government is that it reduces any suspicions as it concerns the flow of information to public. The ITA organises many programmes and competitions and aims to encourage the public and private sectors to use electronic networks in their daily dealings. 2016 had marked the launch of the highest honour of the ICT sector which includes all government, private organisations and the SMEs. The Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in e-goverernace is one such best example.
I am glad to note that the prizes have been chiselled to world-class standards in terms of award categories and criteria overseen by international experts in the field of e-governance and digital services.
The award ceremony which is organised by the ITA yearly had witnessed winners in 13 categories, 8 categories for the government sector and 3 categories for the private sector including one for SMEs.
Last week, on the sideline of its participation at Salalah Tourism Festival 2017, the ITA, represented by the Digital Society Development Division, had conducted a number of training programmes and workshops in the use of IT. It was part of the programme which aims to enhance the trainees skills and competencies to help them benefit themselves and the organisations they work in and the society in general.
The Sultanate has witnessed an advancement in e-Government services. For example the work of Royal Oman Police (ROP) like e-visa and those of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to remotely work through “Invest Easy” portal is laudable.
The business community has hailed these initiatives and it will be a wise move if similar such establishments continue to develop their electronic dealing and make online and e-commerce more feasible.
The significant improvements in ICT is changing the way most governments in the GCC region interact with citizens deliver their services and how they compete with other governments in the region. Let us be part of eOman and discover a brighter future and take Oman forward towards a new age of progress and prosperity.
Bader al kiyumi