Oman Achieves Significant Progress in Government Digital Transformation

A modern, futuristic cityscape of Muscat, Oman, showcasing advanced digital technology and infrastructure. The scene includes sleek government building

Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman has made notable strides in government digital transformation under the National Programme for Digital Transformation during the period from 2021 to 2023.

Dr. Ali Amer Al Shidhani, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology, outlined the ‘Transformation’ programme’s focus on four key areas: excellence in digital services, efficient execution of infrastructure projects using digital solutions, national capability empowerment and management, and community participation and awareness in electronic services.

Dr. Al Shidhani attributed Oman’s impressive digital transformation to several factors, including good governance, the development of national policies and guidelines, the establishment of specific digital transformation controls and standards, the readiness of the digital environment in targeted government institutions, leadership awareness of digital transformation’s importance, and the Ministry’s supervision, support, and guidance in planning, preparing, and reviewing tenders, as well as in empowering and financially supporting digital transformation projects.

The progress is also credited to the assessment of readiness and measurement of digital transformation progress and maturity of digital services in government institutions according to best practices. The Ministry supports and enables institutions to develop digital services and solutions, propose innovative solutions, and maintain digital transformation teams focused on implementing and accelerating transformation plans.

The Ministry supervises these institutions and offers support and advice to implement best practices, thereby speeding up the programme’s implementation. Dr. Al Shidhani emphasized the importance of shared digital platforms, solutions, and digital service systems that enhance efficiency and reduce costs, providing most basic services in an integrated digital manner. These systems are a result of efforts by government institutions to meet digital transformation requirements and keep pace with global technological advancements.

From January 2021 to December 2023, 1,545 services, including automatic licensing activities, were digitized, achieving a 61 percent completion rate out of the 80 percent target for basic government services digitization by the end of 2025. In 2023 alone, 207 services were digitized.

Dr. Al Shidhani highlighted the Ministry’s dual approach to simplifying work procedures: individual simplification by some government institutions through consulting studies and centralized simplification through the Manjam initiative, which focuses on reviewing and simplifying service procedures based on best practices and service quality improvement standards.

The Manjam Laboratories for Simplifying Government Procedures aim to improve government service procedures for beneficiaries by applying the user journey methodology, which encompasses the complete experience of obtaining a product or service. These laboratories operate in a centralized and joint manner, promoting the integration of government work to review and simplify basic service procedures, improve operations, and ensure significant improvements in time, cost, quality, and efficiency.

The results have been promising, with 2,199 services simplified from 2021-2023 out of a target of 2,869 by the end of 2025, including 578 services simplified in 2023. Forty-one percent of these procedures were simplified in Manjam laboratories.

Regarding investment attraction, Dr. Al Shidhani explained that one of Manjam Laboratories’ goals is to simplify government procedures, enhancing the investor experience from obtaining instant electronic visas to acquiring all required licenses digitally. Investors can view projects and opportunities in Oman digitally without needing to visit in person. The digital platform of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones offers a comprehensive digital experience for investors, including reviewing opportunities, selecting investment sites, and submitting and approving applications.

The unified national portal for electronic services, once completed, will further this initiative by providing all government services under one advanced umbrella. These measures and many others have positively impacted the attraction of foreign investments to Oman, according to Dr. Al Shidhani.

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