More than 80 per cent of the people in Oman use the government’s electronic service delivery channels, a survey has revealed.
According to a survey conducted by the Information Technology Authority (ITA) on individuals’ satisfaction with eGovernment services in Oman, it was found that 81 per cent of people use government eServices.
This was followed by the eServices of the Ministry of Manpower, with 25 per cent of users (of the surveyed sample) benefiting from the portal.
The Invest Easy portal saw 9 per cent of users, while 7 per cent of the survey sample benefited from the eHealth portal.
The survey, which was conducted from March 1 to 24, focused on measuring the satisfaction of individuals with regard to eGovernment services of the Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Royal Oman Police, and Ministry of Health. It targeted citizens and residents aged 18 years and above.
The method for data collection included live interviews with citizens and residents visiting the commercial centers in Muscat, Dhofar, Al Buraimi, Al Dakhiliyah and North Al Batinah. The survey aimed to measure the satisfaction of individuals with government eServices in terms of the availability of electronic services through various channels such as smartphone applications and websites, and the satisfaction of individuals with electronic support services. It also sought to assess the accessibility and usability of government services, as well as satisfaction with the electronic payment procedures and challenges faced by users.
The results showed that 94 per cent of the survey respondents were satisfied with the availability of eServices of the ROP through various channels such as phone applications and the website, while 90 per cent were satisfied with their ease of use. Some 75 per cent were satisfied with the availability of support for the user, while 78 per cent were satisfied with the ease of payment procedures.
Some 69 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the availability of the Ministry of Manpower’s electronic services through different channels such as telephone applications and the website, while 62 per cent were satisfied with the ease of use and 54 per cent were satisfied with the ease of payment procedures. Some 47 per cent of users were satisfied with the support and help services.
Some 72 per cent were satisfied with the availability of eServices on the Invest Easy portal, while 63 per cent were satisfied with the ease of using the portal, 63 per cent with the ease of payment procedures, and 50 per cent with the support and help available while using the service.
For the electronic services of the Ministry of Health, 71 per cent of all respondents expressed their satisfaction with the availability of eServices through different channels (such as smartphone applications, the website, etc.), and 63 per cent expressed their satisfaction with the availability of support. However, 59 per cent were satisfied with the ease of use and 58 per cent were satisfied with the ease of payment procedures.
The survey sample included 2,101 individuals, of whom 84 per cent were Omanis, 16 per cent were residents, 83 per cent were males and 17 per cent were females. The age group was between 18 and 59 years old.
Commenting on the survey, Sharifa bint Mohammed Al Maskari, Director of International Relations and Information at ITA, said, “This survey was conducted to enhance the government’s efforts at developing eServices and to identify the challenges facing users of government eServices in order to facilitate these challenges and streamline procedures. We at ITA conduct surveys periodically to measure the awareness and satisfaction of individuals with regard to the use of eServices. The results of the survey were shared with the entities concerned so they could benefit from them and use them while taking appropriate decisions to achieve eGovernment success. These results also serve the international reports of eGovernment surveys, particularly those issued by the United Nations.”
The survey results also revealed the challenges faced by the users of government eServices: 19 per cent of the total users faced challenges related to the telecommunications sector—the frequent interruption of Internet services. Whereas 13 per cent of the total users reported difficulties in tracking the status of the requested service or application when applying for the service electronically. The survey also found that 8 per cent of users faced difficulties in downloading the required files to complete the service, 7 per cent were unable to make mobile transactions and 6 per cent complained about the unavailability of required devices to use digital certification “Tam to complete the service request”.
Some of the respondents also mentioned other challenges including the lack of announcements on apps/software updates made by government entities, and incomplete eService processes in most cases so that it required the completion of the remaining procedures at the headquarters of the entity. In addition to this, users also complained about the lack of accountability and responsibility by government entities when users of eServices faced difficulties. Some of the survey respondents also complained about not having a printer to complete the procedures later. Additionally, others complained about the large number of documents required by government entities to obtain the service, besides the fact that the documents and procedures required were not mentioned, and as such, hindered applicants from keeping them ready before visiting the entities or applying for the service electronically.
Based on the results of the survey, the survey-focused entities (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Health) have to increase the awareness of their services. Integration between government entities is very crucial in order to achieve the desired benefits of digital transformation. The government entities have to conduct satisfaction surveys for their services and provide customer support service due to the increasing use of eGovernment services.
-Times of Oman