MUSCAT -- The official eGovernment Services Portal (www.oman.om) and the national awareness campaign, under the umbrella of e.oman, Oman's national IT strategy, was launched here yesterday under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of Heritage and culture. Board Members of ITA; Dr Salem bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi, the ITA's Chief Executive Officer; and other dignitaries attended the event. The launch of the Official eGovernment Services Portal, the nation's flagship achievement, marks a major milestone in the Sultanate's ambitious journey in transforming Oman by empowering its people, through the e.oman Initiative, within the digital society.The goal includes a significant improvement in the quality of services the government provides to its citizens. It aims to create an effective government-community-citizen infrastructure that provides better public services to people. Mohammed bin Nasser Al Khusaibi said, "The progressive development of eGovernment services bears witness to the aspirations, ambition and effort put forth to secure the desired national objective. This is especially relevant, as IT has become the driving force behind economic advancement."As the main entry point to the Government system and its services, the Official eGovernment Services Portal, www.oman.om, caters to all individuals in the Sultanate, and bridges the gap between government bodies and citizens, residents, visitors and business sector. A key benefit of the portal, it can be accessed by anyone, from anywhere, and at anytime. Aiding in the transformation of Oman into a sustainable Knowledge Society, the Official eGovernment Services Portal uses digital technologies to improve the efficiency of internal processes and is designed to serve the public quickly, effectively, and in an interactive manner.This bilingual portal is designed as a customer-centric model; as its contents are structured by the daily events of life so that online visitors can easily access the services that are most relevant to them. Through a multi-channel service delivery system, navigation is simplified to enable easy access to services within the portal. The portal also authenticates entry to other government services and permits access to their integrated services. In his speech on the occasion, Dr Salim bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi said, "The portal is the result of a number of co-ordinated initiatives to make it a major outlet for information and government services. It will contribute towards creating an all-encompassing and dynamic information technology platform for the nation."The portal caters to all individuals in Oman and outside, including businessmen, residents, citizens, and visitors. It makes it easy for them to interact with the various government organisations and to electronically access relevant services and information. Interesting to note is that within Oman, the portal provides the only comprehensive repository of government services with over 600 services provided by 23 government agencies -- and the list is still growing. The portal, www.oman.om, enables businessmen to interact electronically with government agencies, bringing several services related to investing in Oman, employee regulations, trade documents, free trade zone contacts and relevant policies and regulations within easy reach.The portal empowers citizens and residents to electronically interact with government organisations, enabling easy access to services relating to personal affairs, immigration, health, education, culture and entertainment. Further, the portal caters to visitors planning a vacation or a business trip to Oman, with comprehensive information on tourist attractions, accommodation, events, visa procedures and investment opportunities. The portal content has also been designed to accommodate visually challenged users according to W3C international accessibility guidelines. This is facilitated by processing the contents using screen-reader software for visually challenged users.A short drama enacted by Omani actors staged on the occasion most succinctly brought home the fact that through the Official eGovernment Services Portal, both citizens and businesses can access government information and services online. The portal can be accessed anytime, anywhere through multiple channels such as web and mobile devices. Navigation on the portal site is simplified through a live event service delivery model and searchable content.People requiring any help regarding the portal in general or about any service in particular, can contact ITA by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them call centre at: 80077777. They will strive to improve portal contents and structure continuously and will consider your comments or questions and respond appropriately, according to ITA.
By Hasan Kamoonpuri
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