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Oman’s eGovernment Plan to Lead Gulf Region by 2016
Source: Times of Oman, http://www.timesofoman.com/News/32770/Article--Oman%E2%80%99s-eGovernment-plan-to-lead-Gulf-region-by-2016
Source Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Country: Oman
Created: Apr 22, 2014

(Left to Right) Paul Waller, visiting research fellow at Brunel Business School at Brunel University, UK, Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi and Richard Kerby participating in the discussions at the symposium. Photo– Talib Al Wahabi/Times of Oman

Muscat: If Oman continued to move towards eGovernment at the same pace, it would reach the top position in the Gulf region by 2016, from its current middle level rank, Richard Kerby, Senior Inter-Regional Adviser on eGovernment and Knowledge Management of United Nations, said here on Monday.

Citing the soon-to-be-released UN eGovernment Survey Report 2014, Richard Kerby said the countries of the entire Gulf region were moving closer to the ranks of European countries in eGovernment achievements. He said that when the report would be released in the middle of the year, there would be good news for the country. However, he did not divulge the details of the report, which is still awaited.

Kerby said: "As the report shows, Oman is developing online services and eGovernment. There is still a lot to do in this area, however. The competitive efforts among the GCC reflect the countries' willingness and great efforts to change the status of the eGovernment."

For better achievement of eGovernment goals, Kerby said that there should be open data as it offered effective platforms to facilitate knowledge sharing, skills development and capacity-building for sustainable development.

Governments across the globe need to undertake a process of transformative change. The transformative changes entail not only the design and implementation of innovative practices, but more fundamentally a transformation of government's role, functions, institutional frameworks and processes, said Kerby.

Richard Kerby was speaking at a three-day Excellence in eGovernment Symposium organised by Information Technology Authority (ITA) and held under the auspices of Talal Sulaiman Al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning at Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa. 

The three-day symposium comes in line with the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 which is targeting public and private institutions.

On the sidelines of the symposium, Talal Sulaiman Al Rahbi told reporters that Oman has been continuously growing in egovernance area and its initiatives have been well received among the people.

"Major part of Oman is that its society is young. The statistics about the use of mobile phones and its applications indicate that e-services were very popular and spreading largely among the population. So far, the response has been very good," he said.

In his opening remarks, Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, chief executive officer of ITA, urged public and private sectors to take advantage of what has been made available by the information and communication technology in facilitating government services. "We are working with various government and private institutions to implement the national strategy for the digital society and eGovernment is aimed at strengthening and activating Oman's policy to move to an IT based economy," he said. 
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