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Municipality’s online victory

Over 90% of Dubai services now available on the net

Dubai Municipality has beaten the clock by putting 90% of its services online — one year ahead of a deadline set by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

The organisation now offers 518 services online — the most commonly used being online applications for DM Clinic Health Certificates, Food Control Health Certificates and Dubai Central Labs (DCL) Block Certificates.

To date over two million transactions have been carried out online.

“We have been working diligently for the past several months to e-enable as many of our services as possible, and it is gratifying that we were able to achieve our target of 90% eServices well ahead of schedule,” said Hussein Lootah, acting director general, Dubai Municipality.

“The task had proved particularly challenging because of the sheer volume and diversity of client services we offer, and our synergy with Dubai eGovernment played a central role in ensuring the project’s success.”

The Municipality must now reach a second target of ensuring that 50% of all transactions are carried out online.

When IT Weekly spoke to Salem Al Shair, eServices director of Dubai eGovernment, in December (see IT Weekly 31 December 2005 - 6 January 2006), he said then that he was concerned that not enough people were using e-services; which he put down to a lack of public awareness and a general distrust in conducting transactions online.

At that time, only around 20% of transactions were taking place online, Al Shair said then.

This month however, Al Shair said he is now confident that the Municipality will reach its target — although he was unable to provide figures on how many transactions are carried out online, as this figure is still being audited.

While acknowledging that there was still work to be done, Al Shair stressed he did not want to be “pessimistic”, claiming that “it will be achieved, I have no doubt, that by next year the Municipality will achieve above the target”.

He cited improved marketing of the services and improvements to the actual services themselves as key to achieving this goal.

Al Shair said that he believes the public are now more confident in conducting financial transactions online and that the Municipality was confident of achieving over US$13.6million (50million AED) in revenue from its e-pay system.

Al Shair attributed the success of the Municipality in reaching its target to a combination of factors, including the fact the Municipality had begun to automate its own internal services as far back as the 1980s.

“So that had contributed in building up first of all these electronic applications within the Municipality also it had contributed to growing up its IT capabilities in terms of the staff and awareness within the Municipality employees,’ Al Shair claimed.

“All of this had contributed greatly in them moving forward and being faster than the others. Dubai Municipality had one of the biggest IT visions among the government departments and in terms of IT they were at the forefront.”

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