MUSCAT, JULY 23 - The number of electronic transactions effected via Oman’s National ePayment Gateway nearly doubled in 2017, underscoring the increasingly important role of this portal in enabling secure payments for e-government services, eCommerce, eTendering, online donations, and a host of other online transactions. According to the Information Technology Authority (ITA), which operates the National ePayment Gateway, around 1.9 million transactions were made via this portal in 2017, up from around 1.1 million a year earlier. Revenues handled by the portal soared to RO 365 million last year, up from RO 207 million a year earlier.
Launched exactly a decade ago, the National ePayment Gateway is a key pillar of the eGovernment infrastructure set up by the ITA to enable Oman’s transition into the digital economy. “This state-of-the-art ePayment solution supports the delivery of eServices of the government sector and assists the private sector’s move into eCommerce,” the Authority explained. “Enabling the gateway helps in increasing the adoption of eServices along with electronic payments, which are easy and efficient. The presence of such a robust and secure ePayment Gateway enables eGovernment shared services to be paid for electronically using major local and international credit and debit cards, and other electronic payment instruments. The gateway currently accepts all international credit cards, debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diner cards.”
Since its establishment, growing numbers of ministries, government bodies, banks, financial institutions and private sector organisations have adopted the ePayment Gateway as a portal for electronic transactions. In 2017, as many as 34 government entities utilised the gateway, as did 32 private sector firms.
In addition, 27 charitable and specialised organisations benefited from the services provided by the portal, the ITA stated in its 2017 Annual Report.
Integrated with the eTendering portal of the ITA, the ePayment Gateway enables dozens of government ministries and other entities to procure contracts, goods and services efficiently and transparently. A total of 37 government entities are currently use the eTendering system for procurements.
Nearly 1,200 government tenders were floated through the eTendering system in 2017, covering the procurement of over 6,000 items of goods and services. These tenders attracted over 4,500 bids of a total value aggregating RO 536 million last year.
The uptake of digital certification services by citizens and residents also grew exponentially in 2017. The ITA’s National Digital Certification Centre (NDCC) provides digital certification services in line with the Electronic Transactions Law. Digital certification covers one’s digital identity, digital stamp and time stamp — services that allow citizens and residents to conduct transactions with a high level of confidentiality, trust and credibility and data protection, according to the Authority. In 2017 alone, around 2.8 million digital certifications were issued for ID authentication for citizens and residents.