Stampede to e-services portal

Dubai eGovernment claimed the number of visitors to its portal shot up dramatically in 2005 — from 69,286 in January to 185,063 in December. The 167% rise in visitors to the www.dubai.ae site is due to increased public awareness, according to Salem Al Shair, e-services director at Dubai eGovernment.

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By  Diana Milne Published  March 12, 2006

Dubai eGovernment claimed the number of visitors to its portal shot up dramatically in 2005 — from 69,286 in January to 185,063 in December. The 167% rise in visitors to the www.dubai.ae site is due to increased public awareness, according to Salem Al Shair, e-services director at Dubai eGovernment. The latest figures claim that the number of visitors accessing Dubai eGovernment’s online services increased from a low average of 2,235 daily visitors in January to more than double at 5,969 by the end of the year. In December Al Shair told IT Weekly that at the time just 20% of transactions were carried out online and blamed this on a combination of lack of public awareness and public mistrust in carrying out transactions online (see IT Weekly 31 December 2005 - 6 January 2006). The government has a target of 2007 for putting 90% of government services online and for ensuring that 50% of all transactions are carried out online. Speaking about the latest figures Al Shair said: “The response to our innovative portal from Dubai residents and visitors reflects their awareness of using the e-service to get their work done especially with an innovative, secure and transparent portal like www.dubai.ae.” Between March 2005 and December 2005 the number of international visitors using the website increased three-fold from 13.28% to 47.74% — which meant over half of those visiting the site were doing so from outside the country. This, Dubai eGovernment claimed, was due to the Emirates’ tourism boom. Overall, the number of new visitors accessing the site more than doubled during 2005 from 18,9959 in January to 48,365 in December 2005 while repeat visits tripled from 4,562 in the first month of the year to 12,893 by the end of December. “The marked increase in the number of people adopting e- services through the portal is an indication of the ever reducing gap between state-of-the-art infrastructure, quality of e-services and the expectations of the people using the services,” Al Shair said. When interviewed last December, Al Shair said the government would be carrying out an evaluation exercise to reassess the quality of the services and how many people are using them. Of the different Dubai eGovernment services applying for medical certificates online has proved the most popular having clocked up over 307,000 applications out of a total of 1,357,066 transactions for all government services since it was launched in October 2001, as reported in AME Info in December. Also 90% of applications of Certificates of Origin from the Chamber of Commerce take place online. According to Al Shair, other successful online services include applications for health hygiene certificates for food and payments of traffic fines online. Last December the UN released a report naming the UAE as one of the world’s top countries in terms of e-government readiness. According to the e-Government Readiness Report, the UAE has moved from a ranking of 60 in terms of its e-government readiness in 2004 to a ranking of 42 in 2005.

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