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Ministry of Environment & Climate sets example


Ali Al Matani  - - The decision to make drastic changes in work culture of any organisation requires a strong will at the highest level. Only then will it be binding on everyone associated with it. This will help in creating a sense of responsibility in the organisation.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs started a drive to change its work culture in 2012. It formulated a new work plan to reduce the timings of completion for various transactions and procedures to half an hour.

It decided to complete work on most difficult types of projects, which needed approval from the ministry, within a month. It planned to do so because it wanted to remove obstacles in the way of investments and ensure speedy work as well as end bureaucratic hurdles.

Now the work at the ministry is done electronically at ‘electrifying speed’. You will not find anybody in its halls waiting for his/ her turn to get a response from the officials for approvals required for their projects.

The ministry developed an integrated environmental licensing system for the oil and gas sector. It set an example for speedy completion of work by reducing and simplifying procedures which were earlier lengthy and complicated.

It was an uphill task to obtain approval from the oil sector which takes into account all the environmental implications of the project. When the ministry used its new work culture and strategy in the case of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), it drastically reduced the procedure of issuing over 300 licenses or permits, without compromising on environmental protection. That too within 30 days. Earlier, the time required for the process was months. In some cases, it took even a year.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is now issuing three types of licences, primary, temporary and final with a validity of three years. The ministry has embarked on a strategy of continuous process of improvement and development. This is part of its mission to protect the environment, preserve its natural resources and exploit all possibilities available in its high quality services in its dealings.

The new procedure of licensing and the method of its dealings with the people has turned the scales in its favour. It has become an example for other ministries to learn from its experience.

This experiment by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has sent a clear message to entrepreneurs who had negative views about the work culture in the government offices.

The ministry has shown that the government organisations can work efficiently. It has set an example for electronic transformation. It has brought efficiency and quality in its dealings with the people. It has revolutionised the working of traditional bureaucracy.

I met a businessman soon after I emerged from a meeting with the Minister of Environment and Climate change which he had held with media persons. The businessman was complaining about the lengthy processes in some of the government organisations, which in some cases required ten years.

When I asked him about the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, he said it was the best due to its speedy accomplishment of work. Those who have not dealt with it recently do not understand it.

The path on which the ministry has embarked upon is neither difficult nor long, provided there is determination and will to bring change and improvements, learning from the previous mistakes.

We hope other offices or ministries will benefit from the experience of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and put an end to the outdated procedures when dealing with the people.

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