82 Bahrain government services moved online last year

Transfer to digital services did away with more than 7mln papers required for traditional processing transactions

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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More than 80 government services were migrated to various online channels last year due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it has emerged.

The total revenues collected via electronic transfers in 2020 reached a record BD230 million, posting an increase of 48 per cent, revealed Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) chief executive Mohammed Al Qaed.

He added that the transfer to digital services did away with more than seven million papers required for traditional processing transactions.

Details of digital transformation efforts were disclosed by Mr Al Qaed during a virtual media briefing organised by the National Communication Centre yesterday.

The iGA, in co-operation with various government entities, is now providing 504 e-services – 391 via the national portal bahrain.bh, 16 via self-service kiosks and 97 via smartphone apps.

Mr Al Qaed said huge efforts were made in 2020 to double the number of services taken online from an annual 40 to 82 services.

“We have transferred 82 services online which is more than double our annual goal of 40 services and it includes six national sectors and 15 government bodies,” he said.

“We have increased the capacity of our channels by 30pc, 82pc of government expenses were reduced, 76pc decrease in time spent processing services and a 69pc increase in using e-services over traditional methods.”

The services moved online included 44 in the health sector to support the efforts of the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (Covid-19), 26 as part of the Interior Ministry services, four in community solidarity, three each in real estate and government revenue and two for the Foreign Ministry.

The official also revealed that bahrain.bh received more than 11m visits, and the number of transactions reached 2,200,000 across all government entities.

“The payments received in 2017 totalled BD74,557,048, almost tripling in 2020 to BD231,253,335 while the number of transactions more than doubled from 1,009,453 in 2017 to 2,247,789 in 2020.

Meanwhile, iGA electronic transformation deputy CEO Dr Zakareya Al Khaja plans were underway to further develop the services.

He added that 104 e-services have been launched for the Interior Ministry with efforts under way to develop 26 new services including for good conduct, donations via Islamiyat app, payment of Customs fees and duties, and ID card services.

Government smartphone apps recorded a user increase of 200pc, with the number of users reaching 560,000.

More than 510,000 transactions were carried out in 2020, marking an increase of 43pc. This was credited to the BeAware Bahrain app, which has been downloaded nearly 1.5m times since its launch in March last year.

In 2020, BeAware Bahrain experienced the highest jump in users, followed by the traffic services app, the Electricity and Water app, GovEmployee, and the student exam results app.

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