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Budget finds host, leaves legacy

The UAE Federal Government is implementing a new finance system based on Oracle’s Public Budgeting System (PBS). The move to migrate to a host-based solution from a legacy system that was built in-house was driven by several factors, according to Ashraf Sabri, vice chairman of Raya Holding.

The UAE Federal Government is implementing a new finance system based on Oracle’s Public Budgeting System (PBS). The move to migrate to a host-based solution from a legacy system that was built in-house was driven by several factors, according to Ashraf Sabri, vice chairman of Raya Holding.

“The decision by the government to change the budgeting system was due to several reasons. First, they are changing the chart of accounts to comply with GFS (Global Financial
System). They are also moving towards a budget performance-based approach to help them control the efficiency of their expenditures. Thirdly, they are moving from cash-basis to accrual basis,” said Sabri.

To ensure that its finance system meets GFS standards, the UAE Federal Government has sought the assistance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultants.

The UNDP consultants carried out a study and drafted the requirements for the new system. The consultants were also involved in the selection of technology partners. Raya Holding was chosen to carry out the integration services for the project while Computer Network Systems provided the necessary hardware.

The project, which took almost a year to accomplish, wrapped up early this month. It is currently being used by the Ministry of Finance and Industry (MoFI), with plans for rollout to other ministries and departments at the start of next year.

“Some of the ministries will start [using the system] immediately, along with MoFI. It will be rolled out to other ministries on January 1, 2006,” Sabri said. “You have to roll out [the system] in a phased approach because it involves many ministries,” he added.

Training is being done in a three-pronged approach, Sabri said. “What we have done is we developed a hybrid model for training where we teach the trainers from within the government. We then supervised the training conducted by these government trainers, and on the third phase we will let them train on their own totally,” he added.

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