National strategy to boost digital economy planned

A national strategy aimed at developing the digital economy in Bahrain will be drawn up.

The blueprint was announced during the 21st meeting of the High Committee for Informational Technology and Telecommunications, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa.

The session was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and other committee members.

A committee has been set up to conduct negotiations with five companies which submitted their bids, vying to win the project.

The final report containing the results of the negotiations is set to be submitted to the Tender Board this month.

Shaikh Mohammed stressed the importance of the strategy which will be functional in transferring knowledge, fostering the culture of e-economy, assess Bahrain’s digital maturity and set a framework for e-economy.

The committee recommended the endorsement of a key programme development by the Informational and Electronic Government Authority (iGA) to develop national competences in the IT sector.

Competent authorities will be directed to co-ordinate Informational and Electronic Government Authority (iGA) to implement the project in the first quarter of 2023.

The scheme is one of strategic projects aimed at backing Bahrain’s economic recovery plan through supporting Bahraini IT university graduates and jobseekers in both the public and private sectors and enhance their employability.

Under the ambitious programme, a batch of 240 university IT graduates will be offered in-house training over the coming three years in the iGA sections.

Upon completing their training, they will be presented with professional certificates and employed in the public and private sectors.

The committee reviewed the developments of electronic transformation, as the number of electronic services provided through the e-government channels reached 568.

The committee praised the rate of electronic development during the first quarter of 2022, as about 1.2 million transactions were completed, and the total amounts collected amounted to more than BD211m, an increase of 49 per cent over the same period last year.

The development was positively reflected on the services, in terms of both cost and the time taken to complete them.

The savings rate for government services costs reached 85pc, the time savings for processing transactions 69pc, and the percentage of using electronic services compared to traditional services 90pc.

The committee recommended continuing to work on launching various government services through e-government channels, as 16 services are being worked from six government entities – The Ministry of Interior, Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs, the iGA, the Ministry of Housing, the Civil Service Bureau, and the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments. The launch of the services is expected by July.

The committee adopted a backup policy and mandated the iGA to co-ordinate with the authorities concerned to implement it and make it mandatory on all crucial systems for the tasks managed and maintained by government agencies, including those hosted in cloud services.

The aim is to provide secure storage of important data assets for government agencies, and to prevent data loss in any case and to ensure regular backups of essential business information, records and programmes in a secure and reliable manner.

The committee reviewed the interactive meeting system launched by the iGA and ways to develop and increase its efficiency and its positive contribution to increasing the effectiveness of the meetings held by government agencies and entities.




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