Bahrain achieved 90% of its e-Governance goals

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MANAMA: The Kingdom of Bahrain remained at the top in the e-Governance with attaining 90% of its targets in 2015.

The goals aimed at increasing government effectiveness and developing government performance in accordance to a well-defined vision that mainly aims at facilitating services on citizens and lowering costs to achieve the optimal utilization of resources.

Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive Mr. Mohammed Ali AlQaed revealed that the Authority succeeded during the last year (2015) in achieving 90% of its objectives according to the National eGovernment Strategy. Furthermore, it exceeded the set percentage in four out of seven KPIs, fully completed two as well as accomplished 72% within the seventh KPI.

This was announced during a Press conference present were AlQaed, Human & Financial Resources and Acting Awareness & Marketing Director Engineer Mr. Fahad Isa Al-Qadhi, together with eService Delivery & Channel Enhancement Acting Director Mr. Mohammed AbdulAziz to announce the latest updates of the Authority’s achievements during 2015 along with several major statistics of the eGovernment Program.

The CE thanked His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, HRH the Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa – Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister; for their confidence, trust and continuous support. He also thanked all involved government bodies in achieving such accomplishments; as he confirmed that these accomplishments are an implementation of the wise leadership directions. The leadership is represented by the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology (SCICT), chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr. AlQaed confirmed that the Authority is constantly keen on measuring its performance with the purpose of sustainably evaluating and developing to achieve the set objectives. The Authority’s yearly measurement reflects its commitment in collaborating with concerned entities to reach a vision in accordance to clear executive plans which are regularly revised.

During the conference, he explained the Authority’s keenness on cooperation with the media and valuing its role in delivering the message as well as raising awareness to the society. He also praised the good relationship with all media institutions which are considered to be key drives in executing the National eGovernment Strategy. Moreover, announcing the achievements and the room for improvements comes out of being committed to transparency and opening all channels to media in addition to reflecting professional performance.
The Chief Executive indicated that iGA succeeded in attaining a rise in the usage of its eChannels accompanied with a growth in the number and amounts of payments. The increase is apparent in the applications which provide integrated services; proving that the development method which relies on providing services related to each other in one application is shown to be effective.

While highlighting customers’ satisfaction with the Authority’s eServices, AlQaed ensured utilizing professionals of long experience in the field of monitoring information from the University of Bahrain (UoB) comes in an aim to obtain higher level of accuracy in monitoring customer satisfaction. He also added that releasing results from a biased entity such as the UoB guarantees higher transparency and credibility of results.

He indicated that the Authority continuously seeks on developing and providing the services in the simplest methods to the public. However, offering services is not sufficient without satisfying the public with these services. He further clarified that the satisfaction KPI remains close to the international average of customer satisfaction; yet, the KPI declined from the previous year owing to the major changes of support directed to the business sector.

Engineer Al-Qadhi revealed that the Authority was capable of accomplishing 90% of five objectives which comprise seven KPIs that have been attained by 86% within the fields of achieving next generation government excellence, delivering high-quality services effectively, valuing efficiency, advocating pro-active customer engagement, nurturing entrepreneurship, collaborating with all stakeholders, and encouraging innovation.

Al-Qadhi also mentioned that iGA outstandingly achieved four KPIs which is considered as a major accomplishment. These four comprise ‘50% of government entities interacting with the clients on a weekly basis through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social networks’ – such figure was surpassed by 68%; ‘50,000 register in the eKey system’ was a targeted objective – the Authority had exceeded this figure by registering more than 50,000; ‘5,000 nationals trained on IT/eGovernment foundational topics annually’ – the authority succeeded in training 6,000 instead; lastly, ‘10% on all transaction services (payments and two-way interaction) to have an uptake of 100%’ was set.

Additionally, the CE mentioned that the Information & eGovernment Authority achieved a 100% of two KPIs – 40 eServices developed annually, and three agreements in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Mohammed AbdulAziz exhibited a collection of general statistics about the eGovernment Program’s services and channels of 2015, as he indicated that the Authority’s channels – namely, the portal, smart device applications, and the National Contact Center (NCC) – have witnessed an increase in the usage compared to last year. The number of visitors to the portal had increased by 53% where 75% of these visitors only visited the homepage; and 50% of visitors entered the portal using their smart devices – this reflects the portal’s readiness in enabling users to utilize their smart devices instead of their PCs.
He also highlighted the top five services – topping the list was the ‘General Directorate of Traffic Services’ for the first time, followed by the ‘Electricity and Water Authority Services’, ‘Civil Service Bureau’, ‘Students Exam Results’, and ‘Enquiry of Postal Services’. The months with the highest of usages to services are January, June and September as they comprise seasonal educational services such as ‘Students Exam Results’ as well as ‘University of Bahrain Course Payment’.

While showcasing statistics related to smart device applications, Mr. AbdulAziz clarified that the percentage of downloads had increased by 34% compared to last year; and their usage has also increased by 61%. He also presented the top three popular applications during last year – ‘General Directorate of Traffic’ (which was raised by 540%), ‘Students Exam Results’ and ‘GovEmployee’.

He additionally explained that the number of calls to the NCC was reduced by 4%. The center’s Live Chatting, which has increased by 250%, is considered as a new service that is easily accessed.

The Authority has achieved an upsurge in the value of the amounts paid through a variety of channels by 51%, with an amount of approximately BD35 million, paid across 400,000 ePayment transactions. The number of payment transactions via the portal has increased by 48% while the amounts paid via the portal increased by 49%. The number of payment transactions via smart device applications increased by 204%, and their amounts rose by 187% compared to 2014.

University of Bahrain Project Manager Dr. Ali AlSoufi, a representative of UoB’s Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) KPI study team, clarified the method and results of the study. The percentage of the CSI has decreased from 79% in 2014 to 72% this year due to the decline of the major changes of services directed to the business sector comparing to the individuals and government sectors. Dr. AlSoufi stated that more efforts should be taken to avoid such decline.

The Project Manager also mentioned that the measurement method relied on setting an index specifically created for the Kingdom of Bahrain based on international indicators. He also added that the CSI indicator is between 60% and 70% in advanced countries such as the United States. He thanked iGA for its confidence in the university and for assigning it the measuring of CSI for the second year in-a-row seeing that the university utilizes accurate tools and methods.

Among his comments regarding the decrease of the CSI, AlQaed mentioned that it is normal to receive dissatisfaction by customers due to two causes. The first being the major, swift and consecutive changes amid the business services; together with the lack of marketing campaigns as a result of lack of funds. He also added that iGA worked on completing around 90% of issues that are faced by businessmen with the launch of the Business Licensing Integrated System during last April. Thus, it is expected that the satisfaction will increase by upcoming year.
AlQaed said that iGA will move forward in achieving ambitious objectives within the eGovernment sector. Such objectives can be implemented, measured and followed by clear KPIs which will be announced with full transparency.

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