ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a conference here discussed the successful e-governance model of Saudi Arabia and how Pakistan could emulate it.

The conference on e-governance in Saudi Arabia and opportunities and lessons for Pakistan was held on Tuesday at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).

The objective of the conference arranged in collaboration with World Echo WE News was how Pakistan could emulate the successful e-governance model of Saudi Arabia that had not only transformed the Saudi society as a whole becoming more inclusive but had also sped up public services dislodging the bureaucratic hurdles.

Dr Babar Majid Bhatti, CEO National Information Technology Board (NITB), was the chief guest.

Experts say success is outcome of Saudi vision to create a backbone of data and disseminate it in national mainstream

He said Saudi Arabia is number one on the index of countries who have transformed after starting from scratch in 2017. This primarily is an outcome of its vision to create a backbone of data and disseminate it in the national mainstream.

He also said the industry was looking for catalysts and transformers and not those who can sit on the problem by evaluating academic debates. Some of the great accomplishments that came the Saudi way are National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), a monolithic landscape of development intended to tap the best of talent, and the highest level of commitment from the leadership.

The speakers said Saudi Arabia with a population of around 40 million had made great strides in information technology and its desire to digitise the society had transformed it within a span of less than a decade.

While drawing parallels, it was noted that though Pakistan possesses some of the great talent and industrious initiatives it was lack of digital foundations that ailed it.

Retired vice admiral Khan Hasham bin Saddique, who also served as an envoy in Saudi Arabia, said 85 per cent of Saudi society had access to e-governance and more than 50pc of its revenue was from non-oil resources.

The participants said Pakistan’s fundamental problem was lack of facilities to opt for digital financial transactions.

IPRI President Dr Raza Mohammad, Director Research retired Brig Dr Raashid Wali Janjua, and WE News Director Ammar Masood also participated in the dialogue. They said a state-sponsored policy to facilitate private sector was the need of the hour in order to harness the best of potential that Pakistan possesses and streamline the same into e-governance. It was also noted that e-procurement can cut down 60pc of transaction cost and boost efficiency. The reason why Saudi Arabia has progressed is that it has taken out red-tapism from its bureaucracy and evolved it on a format of ease-governance.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...
Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...