By Daniel Shane
Initiative will see gov't services made available over mobile phones within next two years
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai ruler and vice president and prime minister of the UAE, on Wednesday launched a new initiative that will see an increasing number of government services delivered via mobile devices.
The scheme, known as ‘m-Government’, will see all government entities in the Gulf state provide their services via mobile phones, text messaging and other portable devices within the next two years.
The plan follows on from the launch of the UAE’s e-Government initiative in 2000, which has seen many government services made available via the internet in the time since.
"We are embracing the most modern concept in innovative government by moving towards the delivery of government services through mobile phones,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
"The objective now is to relocate customer service centres into every customer device, enabling them to obtain their desired service through their mobile phones anywhere and at any time. A successful government reaches out to the citizens rather than wait for them to come to it," he added.
The announcement did not specify exactly what services would be made available and when.
The UAE has one of the highest rates of mobile phone penetration in the world, with approximately 14m active subscribers across a permanent population of about 8m.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
With the greatest of respect and admiration to his Highness Sheikh Mohammed I must relay my extreme frustrations with the whole e-government initiative he is trying to establish.
I fully support such an initiative, however I must state that at this point in its evolution it is more a burden on the citizen / resident. The reason is that the new online / connected processes in general are now in addition to the old "manual" processes. Extra steps and levels of bureaucracy have been added with very little tacken away. A prime example is the ID card. I assume that the objective of this ID (as I understood from the promotion at its launch) is to have one vehicle with which ALL government agencies/processes can utilise in interacting with the citizen and resident. However, in general the old processes are still in place with the mandatory addition of "Please provide a photocopy of your ID card". Where is the benefit, logic of this?