Can you tell us more about your current strategy?
Musaab al Mubarak We are focused on building the country as an e-trading hub not only for locals but also for international markets, international exporters, and importers. We have five major business lines within this frame; there are exports and imports, which is our major e-service currently and that we have implemented across 32 ports. This year we developed a new e-service and seek to automate as much as possible the entire process for exports and imports. This has been active since 2005 and we ended 2016 with over 19 million complete transactions. The other line is to automate the port committee system from first arriving at the Saudi border up until the cargo of the containers moves out from vessels. We are working with the Saudi Port Authority to automate this and our plans should be finalized in 2017. This is the major business line related to imports and exports and the plan is for this to be finalized as a Single Platform for SAUDI eTrade in 2017. We want to automate payments to become a single e-process allowing traders to receive all invoices electronically from all stakeholders, no matter private or government, and making payments electronically. We are working on this initiative and expect to launch this service in 4Q2017.
Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Alshoulby The Saudi eGovernment Program (Yesser) plays an important role in the execution of the National Transformation Program (NTP) objectives and Vision 2030 to develop the e-government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by enabling the transformation of government entities, in addition to constantly improving and maintaining the National Portal (www.saudi.gov.sa). As for the reforms, Yesser is responsible for three strategic objectives from among NTP's objectives: improve the user experience, transparency, and quality of government services; improve the efficiency of government internal operations and employees; and maximize the ROI of government ICT investment by leveraging shared platforms and resources.
These three strategic objectives are measured through the following key performance indicators (KPIs) for each objective, including KSA's ranking on the eGov Index (UN), the Open Data Barometer, and user satisfaction Index; e-transformation index (Qiyas), e-government services maturity level (MARASD), the number of major government agencies adopting GRP standard processes for HR, finance, and procurement; and annual reduction in government expenditure on core ICT infrastructure.
How do you regard yourselves in the market, and how do you make a profit?
MAM We are owned by the government but are completely private; we do not receive any budget from the government. For e-procurement we collaborate with the Ministry of Finance to automate the procurement for the government and have developed two main stages. The first is to automate fast services regarding electronic tenders from the government side and the tender for direct purchasing. This was launched in 2014 and has been implemented in over 200 government organizations around Saudi Arabia, not only in Riyadh. Today we are in the Jizan province area to train municipalities on how to use the system as this will open the market and be a major wheel in government procurement for our economy. This will help to create a marketplace for trading and we can subsequently open it internationally. It will also allow SMEs to participate in government tenders. The target for this system is to completely automate the procurement cycle and we work with the leaders to achieve this goal. We have in fact built this system and target implementing it this year with the Ministry of Finance. We aim to create a marketplace for suppliers; already more than 20,000 suppliers have registered on our portal since 2014 as well as over 200 government organizations that have submitted their tenders through our system.
To what extent has the NTP and Vision 2030 impacted your work? Are expectations higher?
AAA Expectations are definitely higher. Due to the clarity of NTP and Vision 2030, the goals are clear and well defined and that has contributed immensely to the alignment process of government agencies with each other. This alignment has already started to have positive impact on government agencies' work and performance, including Yesser. The three strategic objectives for which Yesser is responsible cascades down to five initiatives: increase standardization, collaboration, and security across government entities through e-government governance, leadership, and oversight; develop an innovative whole-of-government concept, platforms, and enabling services to deliver seamless omni-channel experiences for users; enable an open government through e-participation and open data; enable paperless and efficient common government processes; and build and roll out shared ICT government platforms and expertise. Additionally, Yesser measures regularly the rate of e-transformation of government entities and the goal is to increase the current rate of 57% to 80% by 2020. As for the e-government services maturity level, the target is to be 85% by 2020.