The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed stated that the authority managed in 2020 to successfully migrate all essential government services to various digital channels, a major milestone in the Kingdom’s digital transformation in the face of current challenges. . He added that reaching this advanced stage in the digital transformation was thanks to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s vision, which emphasizes the importance of deploying advanced technologies in in the provision of government services.
Al Qaed also credited the realization of this vision to the government’s efforts, led by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the support of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology chaired by HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and the Minister of Interior, HE Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa. He praised their contributions towards accelerating the pace of digital transformation by providing services comprehensively via online channels that are convenient for citizens and residents, and which are in line with the sustainable eGovernment program.
Al Qaed revealed that the iGA, in cooperation with other governmental entities, is now providing 504 eServices — 391 via the National Portal bahrain.bh
, 16 via self-service ekiosks, and 97 via smartphone applications downloadable from the eGovernment app store, bahrain.bh/apps
. The eServices have helped the government reduce operational costs by 82%, allowing users to carry out their transactions online with 69% higher efficiency compared to traditional methods saving time to complete transactions by 76% eliminating the need to visit service centers. Al Qaed cited an increase financial transactions in 2020 by 38% compared to 2019, as the total number of transactions was over 2,200,000 across all governmental entites.
He said that total revenues collected from the various digital channels increased by 48%, achieving a record of BD230 million, and surpassing the BD200 million mark for the first time. The National Portal received over 11 million visits.
The findings were shared at the latest in a series of media briefing held remotely by the National Contact Center, in which Al Qaed showcased the achievements of the Kingdom’s 2020 digital transformation program.
Al Qaed highlighted a number of factors that led to the acceleration of digital transformation in 2020, including the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology’s directives, implemented in coordination with the iGA, and the iGA’s efforts to restructure government service procedures and complete national digital transformation plans as part of the Kingdom’s overall strategy. This led to the re-engineering of 82 services, which are now more advanced and efficient.
Al Qaed said that deploying modern technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the development of government services has supported business continuity across the public sector, including the judicial sector, by helping to streamline procedures. Judicial services include the ability to file civil and commercial lawsuits online. Modern technologies also enabled the education sector to offer remote learning by migrating the Educational Gateway, EDUNET to the cloud. In addition, these technologies have supported national efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through the development of the BeAware Bahrain app, a comprehensive government system, in cooperation with a number of relevant entities. The app is a success story that was launched in record time and realizes the vision of HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
During the briefing, Al Qaed delivered a presentation covering more than 500 of the eServices launched since the start of the eGovernment program. A total of 82 eServices were launched in 2020, covering six sectors and 15 governmental entities. He credited efforts of the Information & eGovernment Authority team .He also said that seven new operating systems were provided for the government while the National Portal and app stores had their capacities increased by 30%, in addition to an increase of 50% in the Portal’s responsiveness. A number of new and improved self-service kiosks have also been offered.
Financial transactions carried out via the iGA’s channels since launch topped 8,647,000, generating BD754,434,000 in revenues from 504 eServices.
iGA Deputy CE of Electronic Transformation. Dr. Zakareya Ahmed AlKhajah said that the Kingdom was able to overcome the coronavirus challenges of 2020 through a robust, up-to-date, and safe digital infrastructure that was the result of many years of work. This allowed the government to create a comprehensive electronic system that benefits all sectors while remaining in line with existing supportive legislation.
AlKhajah praised the commitment that government entities had displayed towards digital transformation, improved productivity, and continuity of service in the face of current conditions. He thanked HE the Minister of Interior for his support in achieving the ministry’s digital transformation, which resulted in launching the first and second batch of Ministry of Interior eServices in 2020 , which now total 104 and are provided through various digital channels. Work is currently ongoing to study, restructure, and develop 26 new services. These eServices, most notably ones relating to good conduct, donations via Islamiyat app, payment of Customs fees and taxes, and ID card services, are provided by the iGA.
Three government revenue-related eServices were launched, including requests for promotional campaigns and discounts by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism; VAT bill payments to the National Bureau for Revenue (NBR), and insurance fee payments to the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA).
There were also four new social services, including a financial support request service from the Royal Humanitarian Foundation for people affected by the coronavirus, and three services by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development relating to job seeker registrations, viewing of personal profiles, and government financial support status requests.
A total of 44 health sector eServices were launched to support the efforts of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Three housing and real estate services were launched to support the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). A further two, offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cater to citizens abroad.
Government smartphone applications recorded a user increase of 200%, with the number of users reaching 560,000. Over 510,000 transactions were carried out, marking an increase of 43% in 2020. This was credited to the BeAware Bahrain app, which has been downloaded nearly 1.5 million times since its launch in March last year.
Collected revenues amounted to over BD27 million, an increase of 36% due to the addition of new eServices available via smartphone apps, the Fa’el Khair service, and the continuously increasing use of traffic app services.
In 2020 BeAware Bahrain experienced the highest jump in users, followed by the traffic services app, the Electricity and Water (EWA) app, GovEmployee, and the student exam results app.
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