‘Smart’ policies create conveniences: UAE paper

ABU DHABI: Government bureaucracies aren t meant to beat the private sector in efficiency, but the U.A.E. s Smart Government initiatives have already been making real changes, opined a local daily.

The Khaleej Times in its editorial has commented that, before a courier can reach your address, you get an SMS that your Emirates ID is ready; before your employer can get in touch, you receive an email that your visa has been renewed.

Since May 2013, when Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched the Mobile Government initiative, a raft of digital services have been unrolled. An App Store solely for the U.A.E. governmental bodies includes 100 apps and 700 services. Particularly useful functions include paying Dewa, Salik and Etisalat bills by smartphone, as well as a myriad of map listings for healthcare and other services.

“The conveniences are welcome. But they are also important in giving the impression of greater openness in government. Whereas the usual piles of paperwork under which your civic concerns get lost would signal alienation, instant notification keeps you in the loop. Bureaucracies no longer seem so unfriendly. IMD, a Swiss business school, this year ranked the U.A.E. as having the most efficient government worldwide. Initiatives like mobile notifications all contribute,” the paper pointed out.

The Smart Government initiative is so ubiquitous it can seem as if there is no announcement made in Dubai that doesn t support or at least reference it. That, too, is an efficiency uncharacteristic of what most would expect from the public sector.