Ten government departments in Qatar have gone online to try cutting bureaucracy and personal visits by applicants. The three-level online project, launched by crown prince Jassem Ben Hamed Al-Thani on independence day, is expected to be fully operational within two-and-a-half years.
By 2002 Qatari citizens will have access to online information, banking and electronic services. Ten of the most essential government departments have already switched to the new system on September 3, only two months after the switch was approved. Among them was the ministry of immigration and passports, the most congested department in the country.
Using the new system, the ministry of interior, the military, Qatar Airlines and several petrochemical and gas companies will be able to process employee applications electronically, saving time and effort wasted with the old system.
Ahmed Al-Muhannadi, executive director of the online government project said the ten online departments would serve as a test case before other departments are switched to the system.
Soon, Qataris will be able to make an application, check its status, and receive whatever document they request electronically. Muhannadi said long lines at the social, economic and information departments will vanish.
Government employees have been well trained, Muhannadi said, although the new procedures are simple and workers have no trouble adjusting. Muhannadi would not say how much the switch cost the government, but said he considers the project an investment in the country's future.
Muhannadi added that in the long run the new system would decrease government spending. With business conducted electronically, departments' spending on paper, typewriters, and stationary as well as overtime for workers would fall dramatically. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )