The Mobile Portal and Common Service Centers (CSC), the latest service delivery channels to provide government services to the public were launched yesterday, in line with the eGovernment strategy of Bahrain and Vision 2030.
As stipulated by the strategy, the eGovernment Authority will offer 200 basic government services to the public through 4 channels – eGovernment National Portal, Mobile Portal, Common Service Centers and the National Call Center. To date, 90 eServices are available through the National Portal (www.bahrain.bh) with the rest set to launch at various stages until the end of 2010.
“Launching the Mobile Portal and Common Service Centers are two of the basic components of Bahrain’s eGovernment vision,” Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, HE Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatallah Al Khalifa stated at a press conference yesterday (Saturday, May 23rd) held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Spa to mark the occasion.
“By offering government eServices through multiple easy-to-access service delivery channels, everyone is included, regardless of education or income levels, gender, age, or nationality, while at the same time achieving true quality and integration with a focus on customer satisfaction.”
HE the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs also commented that availing eServices through multiple channels is part of the country’s esteemed leadership’s aspirations for the people of Bahrain, and is in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to improve government services and make them available to everyone. These services must also be of the highest quality standards and effectiveness to facilitate transparency, efficiency, and economic growth.
“According to the latest figures,” HE the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs said,
“Mobile penetration in Bahrain currently stands at 119%, considered to be a very high rate. As such, we have ensured that we offer government eServices to the public through this popular channel with which they are already very familiar, so that they gain maximum ease of use and benefit.”
HE the Minister went on to say that the Mobile Portal will allow anyone with a mobile phone to communicate with complete ease with all government entities and avail of their services. The services, which have been specifically engineered for mobile phones, are accessible through a mobile version of the National Portal to WAP- equipped phones, in addition to other services available through SMS.
The initial phase of the Mobile Portal will include 11 basic government services, with 39 more to be rolled out by year’s end, bringing the total to 50 services in all. Some of the key services are: enquiries regarding electricity bills and traffic contraventions, daily price index, flight information, school examination results, and registration of complaints to various government bodies.
As for Common Service Centers, HE The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatallah Al Khalifa commented “they target a segment of society which prefers low-tech eGovernment solutions. These centers will be strategically located throughout the Kingdom, thereby sparing customers the time and effort of physically going from one Ministry to another, and at the same time reducing traffic congestion and queues.”
15 such centers will be set up in post offices and other community centers to cover all of Bahrain, thus putting them within reach of everyone. The first center, located in the Budaiya Post Office, officially begins its operation today.
HE The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs went on to say that the Common Service Centers will allow the general public to access any government service through the government employee present at the CSCs representing all government bodies. In addition, the centers will have “eService Platforms” (or eKiosks), which are machines that resemble and work much in the same way as ATM machines, thereby allowing customers to complete their own eServices easily.
HE Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatallah Al Khalifa extended his sincerest gratitude to all the teams working on the projects, as well as the government ministries and bodies and consultants for their outstanding work in launching this project ahead of schedule, which he said was a clear testament to their sense of national responsibility.
On the same topic, Mohammed Al Qaed, CEO of the eGovernment Authority, also remarked that “launching the Mobile Portal and Common Service Centers come as part of our drive to make government services available to citizens and residents, as well as visitors from all nationalities, using innovative ways to save them time and reduce bureaucracy.”
“This is yet another step towards facilitating public access to government services. These latest channels are innovative methods to benefit from government services and deliver them to our customer base which bridges the gap between government and the general public, in line with the objectives and strategies of Vision 2030,” he added.
Al Qaed also stated that by availing its services through multiple service delivery channels, customers can select whichever channel – National Portal, Mobile Portal, or Common Service Centers - is more convenient for them. “This achieves the key goal of eGovernment, which is ‘delivering customer value through collaborative government’, because in the end, customers are the target of our services and their satisfaction is the goal we all strive for.”
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