Dubai e-government aims to fly high

Dubai e-government is aiming to be one of the region’s most effective online municipalities by 2007. The government is looking to increase the percentage of transactions carried out online from the current level of 81% up to 90% between 2005 and 2007, by expanding the current 1,600 services offered to 1,750.

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By  Chris Fernando Published  May 25, 2005

Dubai e-government is aiming to be one of the region’s most effective online municipalities by 2007. The government is looking to increase the percentage of transactions carried out online from the current level of 81% up to 90% between 2005 and 2007, by expanding the current 1,600 services offered to 1,750. “Of the total 1,600 services offered online, only 48% of these services are automated, complete with payment gateways. We now want 50% of these services to be automated by 2007,” said Rehab Lootah, e-services provisioning manager at Dubai e-government. The Dubai e-government initiative was launched in 1999, with www.dubai.ae currently handling 81% of all 1,900 public services such as, payment of bills such as DEWA (ePay), payment of traffic fines, searching for jobs (eJob), Dubai city guide, flight information and information about public transport systems. “Services such as Visa and eGate card applications, traffic services transactions, health card renewals and import and re-export license applications are some of the most used,” added Lootah. “Most of the online payment services are also encrypted and the best part about using credit cards online is that users don’t have to pay extra charges. These are borne by the government.” In order to meet its 90% goal Dubai Government is planning to enhance some of its current services. For example, it will add an American Express payment option to the ePay facility, which currently only accepts Visa and Mastercard, and enhance the mDubai service so that mobile phone users can access this via GPRS. The government will also introduce new services such as eDelivery, a pick-up and delivery service for documents moving between customers and government departments, and eSurveyor, which allows users to key-in their feedback about Dubai’s e-services. Under the eDelivery initiative, Dubai e-government will build an online repository to improve the handling of documents. Users will then need to submit documents such as passport copies only once. Any further requests by other government departments for a user’s information will then be handled through this service. “We will integrate all the government department services with this repository, so that the handling of documents becomes much easier,” said Lootah. To help users get the most out of these e-services, Dubai e-government has recently rolled out its eCitizen certification initiative. This 16-hour training program is available through ICT trainer New Horizons at a discounted price (300 Dirhams) and will help citizens use Dubai’s e-government portals, as well as learn other computer fundamentals. About 1,000 applicants have already applied for this certification program, which is open to citizens and expats, and the government has opened seven centres for this training initiative. The government is also planning to meet the needs of visually challenged users by integrating Talk software into its e-government systems, enabling such users to use online services through their mobile handhelds. Dubai e-government will keep citizens aware of all these changes through its local e-government journal called ‘e4all’, which can be downloaded from the e-government web site. A print version of this magazine can also be picked up from outlets such as EPPCO service stations and Dubai Transport cabs for free.

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