Syria could follow UAE e-government example

Damascus weighs up pros and cons of launching online e-systems similar to e-dirham in the UAE.

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By  John Irish Published  February 3, 2003

Syria has shown its inclination to move into the technological age, after meeting with UAE officials on January 29 to discuss the UAE’s e-dirham system launched over two years ago. E-dirham enables the Ministry of Finance and Industry to collect revenue and provide secure payment methods for any services on offer from government departments.

The Syrian communications minister, Dr Bashir Al Munged, explained that Damascus hoped to emulate the UAE’s moves towards e-government and praised the progress the UAE had made in adopting modern technology.

Internet access is a relatively new phenomenon to many Syrians and at present the government imposes limitations on its use. This latest development could be a sign of a change in Damascus’ overall attitude to the internet.

UAE officials also indicated that other states, possibly from the GCC, were keen to adopt the e-dirham concept.

“Representatives of these countries have held preliminary talks with us, though it is too early to reveal their identities,” said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, assistant under-secretary for revenue and budgeting.

All the federal ministries in the Emirates now use the e-dirham system for levying government fees, something that could be done on a wider regional scale if other Arab states were to adopt e-technology.

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