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Governments poised to save billions from e-business

Forrester report says that if only 15% of tax revenue is collected online in the United States, that will translate to $602 billion.

Governments will be the biggest spenders on e-business technology, and the biggest net winners, says a new report from Forrester Research. The findings of the study will add extra impetus to Middle East leaders striving to take their governments into the New Economy.

The report, “Sizing US Government”, predicts that up to 15% of all US taxes and other payments to government will be collected online by 2006; a total of $602 billion.

Online submissions will boom in the next six years, the report continues. Although lack of technological sophistication will mean that most local authorities will not begin e-government operations before 2002, business reporting, service applications and other services will push the number of online transactions between government by citizens and companies to 333 million by 2006.

“An increasingly demanding and wired public is looking for speed and convenience from its government,” said Jeremy Sharrard, author of the report and associate analyst at Forrester. “Even though constituents are concerned about privacy and paying convenience fees, users see the value of online government and want those services now.”

Sharrard expects to see e-government pass through three distinct stages before it reaches a final working model. Initially governments will roll out user-focused, low-risk pilot schemes which will be simple to use and unsophisticated.

The commercial drive to the Net that will be experienced from 2002 onwards will result in citizens pushing governments to bring more and more services online. Business services and more complicated customer applications will require integration of services between different government departments, which will result in a slowdown of deployment as authorities struggle with legacy systems.

In the final stage, civil authorities will be required by law to restructure their processes for the web, which will result, eventually, in greater savings and streamlining of government processes as they become more transparent on the Net.

“By 2005, local governments will receive federal funding to bridge the digital divide controversy – making e-government services available to all constituents,” Sharrard concluded.

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