Manama: The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bahrain Internet Exchange (BIX) in an aim to provide governmental agencies with internet service at reduced rates. The MoU was signed by the authority’s Chief Executive and Reduction of Recurrent IT Expenditures Task Force Chairman Mr. Mohammed Ali AlQaed together with BIX Board of Directors Chairman Brigadier Mansoor AlHajeri.
Among the attendees – in representative of iGA – were General Manager of Information Technology Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed AlKhalifa as well as Enterprise Architecture & Information Technology Director Dr. Khalid Ahmed AlMutawah. Attendees representing BIX included Executive Director Ms. Shaima Abdulrahman Al-Hamed, Board of Directors Vice-Chairman Shaikh Bader bin Khalifa AlKhalifa, Advisor Mr. AbdulMonaem AlEid, along with the attendance of board members Mr. Taha Mahmood Faqihi and Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa AlKhalifa.
The MoU is part of the task force coordination efforts of implementing numerous initiatives that aim at reducing recurrent expenses and improving the level of information and communication systems. The initiatives positively reflect the presented services either to government entities on the one hand, or to citizens on the other.
The efforts, related to information systems, undertaken by the task force comes about as a response to the directives of the Executive Committee Chairman HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa – Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister – as part of six government task forces involved in reducing recurrent expenditures. The task force is chaired by Mr. AlQaed who established four technical sub-committees that are responsible of supporting the task force to come about producing the best recommendations in order to achieve the required cutback. The task force regularly issues reports of plans, workflow and completed phases of the Executive Committee so as to obtain their approvals.
Ms. Shaima AlHamed confirmed that the MoU is amongst BIX objectives which aim to connect Internet Service Providers (ISP) in order to increase local traffic and content, as well as reduce the cost of purchasing international bandwidth. The MoU also supports the integration amongst the governmental entities for the purpose of reducing expenditures.
“It extends for two years and is centered around reviewing the internet service prices, providing high speed internet, enhancing the broadband services in Bahrain as well as offering services at a reduced charge. According to the current direction, in the Kingdom, which is going towards decreasing the costs, we seek to find a strong base for the internet with the familiar high quality presented at the governmental entities – at a lower price while ensuring that the entities’ work is not affected – as a consequence, not affecting the citizen services,” explained AlHamed.
AlQaed confirmed that the Enterprise Agreements Committee, part of the task force, has held a series of meetings with senior management officials of ICT government supplier companies, which own large financial contracts, so as to reach suitable solutions for both parties and reduce the recurrent costs. These companies presented strong response in finding the best solutions that assist in reducing the impact of the current financial situations in various sectors of the Kingdom, not only the governmental. He also added that providing the internet services at reduced prices and high speed for the public sector contributes in minimizing the total cost, raising the quality and efficiency of work within these entities as well as improving the level of online interaction with citizens.
Authority’s CE pointed that a major part of iGA’s work is to back governmental entities in minimizing the spending through developing systems that integrate these entities and transform their services into eServices. Naturally, the authority continues this practice by presently being more keen to assist and transform with the current situation of reducing government entities’ recurrent expenses.