(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The sultanate is rapidly developing its e-government services but a lot more needs to be done for it to be better than other GCC nations, an UN expert has said.
Richard Kerby, senior inter-regional advisor on e-Government and Knowledge Management, UN is in Muscat to attend a symposium, Excellence in e-Government that began at Shangri La's Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa on Monday.
''I think Oman, and GCC in general are doing well in developing e-government strategies. There is still more work to be done. If Oman continues to work the way it's doing now, it can do better than its GCC counterparts,'' Kerby said. ''One of the challenges is to have an open e-government platform in place and ensure its implementation. Also, citizens should be encouraged to provide their inputs to the government.''
Kerby said that going for an open government system is a matter of strategy. ''It is a major challenge, but not impossible. As long as the government has the right strategy, it can be done. Open government is a long-term process and it needs enough time especially when you are creating a new environment.''
Kerby said that the sultanate needs to take some steps to fast-track the process. ''Open data offers a platform to facilitate knowledge sharing, skills development and capacity building for sustainable development. Partnership with data entrepreneurs and the private sector will advance implementation.
''E-governance should be seen as a holistic process to transform governments. 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.'' Talal Sulaiman al Rahbi, deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council for Planning, who was the chief guest at the symposium, said, ''This symposium is being held at a time when most of the government and private agencies are looking to participate in the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014. We look forward to see new projects and services in this year's edition.''
He said that e-government is not confined to the word 'electronic' but is more about enhancing performance, transparency, simplicity and providing better services to the public.
''The UN eGovernment Survey Report 2014 that measures the sultanate's progress in e-government services will be released soon,'' Rahbi said.
Dr Salim Sultan al Ruzaiqi, CEO of Information Technology Authority said, ''We urge the public and private sectors to take advantage of the available information and communication technology in facilitating government services. We are working with various institutions to implement the e-government strategy to move towards an IT-based