And despite what is being reported globally that “after Corona is not like it”, but that the Saudi Cabinet’s remote session, this opened the door to questions in front of public opinion: What steps have Saudi Arabia taken in digital transformation before Corona so that it becomes ready to activate its electronic government, and from the head The government pyramid in the country?
The Corona pandemic ensured that the door to questions was opened, and the Saudi government’s steps that began early have taken care of the response.
The Saudi government engaged in a long journey that spanned more than four decades, with the entry of the computer, the rehabilitation of the human element, access to the Internet and the development of the infrastructure for the telecommunications sector, until the Corona pandemic came, and the digital transformation was imposed on 25 ministries, 52 agencies and dozens of government companies to work remotely. It changed the norm and work became someone who went home.
‘Vision’ and ‘Agile Government’
To answer the question and find out how the Saudi government faced the pandemic through remote work, Al-Eqtisadiah polled the views of the speakers of the ministries of justice, housing, commerce, industry, and education, and monitored the performance of a number of other ministries and government agencies.
Majed Al-Khamis, General Supervisor of the General Administration of Media and Institutional Communication at the Ministry of Justice, in his speech to Al-Eqtisadiah, said that the secret of ministries’ ability to confront the pandemic by working remotely came from the focus of the Kingdom’s vision on digital transformation that achieved the equation of “lean government.” Capable of dealing with crises.
On Thursday, he talked about the ministry’s launch of specific electronic projects and initiatives in all sectors of the ministry (judiciary, documentation, implementation, reconciliation) through a digital strategy aimed at raising the quality and competencies of judicial services.
“Among the most prominent of them are the electronic litigation service, the most important of which is the electronic emptying services, the electronic agency for all items, as well as comprehensive implementation services, and a compromise platform for remote reconciliation.”
He explains that the ministry has raised the upper limit for the value of real estate whose owners wish to empty them electronically from one million riyals to three million riyals, as part of its plan to activate the sale and purchase of real estate in a fully electronic process, according to safe procedures that guarantee the rights of all parties.
He pointed out that 70 thousand documenting processes (issuing agencies and emptying real estate) were recorded in the first month of suspending attendance at workplaces, through the Nagz electronic portal and the Unified Communication Center 1950, explaining that the same period witnessed the registration of 1,153 requests to transfer real estate ownership electronically, with a total of more than 152 One million riyals, while the ministry has conducted more than 590,000 documentation processes, 55 percent of which are electronic, since March 16 until today.
Expanding digital platforms
On the level of “housing”, the citizen’s preoccupation, he explained to “Al-Eqtisadiah” Saif Al-Suwailem, the official spokesman, that the ministry worked with the beginning of the emergence of the Corona pandemic, to take a set of measures that would ensure the continuity of services, as a work consisting of various agencies was formed. And the relevant departments at the level of the ministry, and determine the appropriate work mechanism according to an integrated procedural guide to provide the necessary service to citizens, verify the readiness of digital platforms, activate them further and raise their absorptive capacity.
“The ministry has provided various digital platforms to serve citizens around the clock, enabling them to view all housing projects and land plans, reserve them, register in the” sakani “program, obtain immediate entitlement, and issue certificates bearing the value-added tax on the first housing electronically, Al-Suwailem says.
He indicates that the Ministry was able to serve more than 500 thousand citizens during the period of suspension from work from March to May. More than 61 thousand benefited from the housing and financing options provided by the Ministry through the “Sakani” program during the same period. family.
“Electronic loan … from request to christening”
As for the new ministry, “Industry and Mineral Resources,” it did not differ from other ministries in walking on the way to work remotely, but its technical teams made efforts that appear to be great compared to their age.
This is confirmed by Al-Eqtisadiah, Jarrah Al-Jarrah, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, by saying, “Since the first day of the start of the complete closure and the application of remote work, the ministry has taken a number of quick decisions to ensure the progress of work in all sectors of the system, taking advantage of the technical capabilities and human cadres in The IT department who made great efforts during that period. “
Al-Jarrah pointed out that the ministry has worked to automate the issuance and extension of permits electronically without the need to review its branches. As for the Industrial Fund, he announced the completion of the industrial loan system development, and the launch of the electronic loan so that the customer’s journey would be completely electronic, starting from submitting the application for obtaining the loan until obtaining it. Includes all procedures up to baptism and electronic signature.
Al-Jarrah confirms that one of the lessons learned from the Corona pandemic is that the Ministry has accelerated a number of internal procedures and worked to fully automate them, as it launched the electronic portal system that contributed to the automation of administrative systems procedures such as financial and procurement, personnel affairs, administrative communications and the adoption of electronic signature, explaining that the ministry does not Still evaluating policies and procedures and working on improving any procedure that requires this, and adding any amendments that facilitate customer service in an integrated electronic way.
He indicated that the number of electronic services implemented by the system in general since the start of the precautionary measures exceeded 170,000, indicating that they varied between issuing permits or extensions required to ensure the continuity of work in factories, especially those related to providing supply in the market for the food and medical sectors in general.
600 minutes for 6 million students
“Education” has not moved far from “justice” or “housing” or “industry”, as its importance for all members of society has been at the heart of the pandemic, according to the words of Ibtisam Al-Shehri, a spokesman for public education.
Within 600 minutes (ten hours) of the announcement of the decision to suspend studies, the ministry has managed – and the conversation is here for the month – to transfer six million students to education through electronic platforms that have provided them for all stages.
She told “Al-Eqtisadiah”, Ibtisam Al-Shehri, that the ministry has provided six educational platforms for all educational levels, and has designated Ain satellite channels with 21 channels, including six channels for the primary stage, three channels for the intermediate stage, and 12 channels for the secondary stage. YouTube, which contained 5,400 educational lessons and 4,000 hours of live broadcasts, and achieved 61 million views from within the Kingdom, and six million views from outside the Kingdom.
366 thousand “remote” services
The Ministry of Trade was very present through the number of services provided, which Abdul-Rahman Al-Hussein, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, revealed in his interview with Al-Eqtisadiah that it reached 366 thousand services for the business sector during the period from 16 March to 19 July.
Al-Hussein states that these services varied between 241504 electronic commercial records, 55704 reservations of commercial names, 10821 commercial affidavits, 8254 certificates of origin, and other operations.
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs completed 12,000 transactions for commercial and construction licenses through the online Baladi portal in the last week of last March.
Thanks to the durability of the communications network and the Internet infrastructure, the Saudi ministries were able to circumvent the repercussions of the pandemic, and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Abdullah Al-Sawahah, attributes the support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the telecommunications sector during the past three years, saying, “The Crown Prince made the impossible: 15 billion riyals a package. The Kingdom has become the fourth largest country in the deployment of the fifth generation, and 3.5 million homes have been connected to fiber with a stimulus to the infrastructure, and the growth of the towers to 40 thousand fourth generation. “
Al-Sawahah summarizes the achievement by referring to the Kingdom’s ranking three years ago in Speedtest, which was 104, while the Kingdom advanced last February to the world 10.
“Flexible work” from discussion to application
The Saudi decision to stop working in government departments during the pandemic led to new global concepts of work emerging from a mere “intellectual discussion” to actual application on the ground, most notably the flexible work decision recently approved by the Ministry of Resources and Human Development.
The ministry also launched an electronic platform “flexible” to document flexible work contracts between the employee and the employer, targeting male and female citizens looking for work, and workers wishing to increase their wages.
The “Madad” electronic platform launched by the Ministry also came to provide technical solutions for small and medium-sized companies with regard to payroll management systems, enabling them to adhere to the wage protection system and facilitating the procedures for automating salary systems, which is part of the National Transformation Program plan. It will also have a prominent role in raising the transparency and reliability of financial operations that take place in establishments of any size.
The “ta” is the field character
“Trust us” and “reassure” and “diverge” applications that accompanied the Saudis during the curfew period, and connected sectors that did not leave the field, such as security and health in the community, and its employees throughout the past period were champions of confrontation, and technically present and in the field, so that the “T” applications have become remembered Citizens and residents an icon that indicates the fullness of the plan in the face of the pandemic.
Resisting the pandemic with “innovative solutions” culturally, sports and media
Because quality of life is a fundamental requirement in the Saudi vision, the scene in the furnace of the storm seemed reassuring, as the ministries that are very much focused and intersecting in their programs with “quality of life”, have succeeded in getting out of the storm with the least losses at the very least, after relying in their war on innovative and creative solutions to confront The virus perched on the chest of the globe. Although the pandemic postponed many cultural events, foremost among them the Riyadh International Book Fair, the upcoming event in Saudi Arabia and regionally, the Rijal Al-Tayyib season, and the Al-Asha event, the ministry led by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud has succeeded in circumventing the pandemic and activated electronic interaction , As it launched a package of initiatives under the title “Culture in Solitude” that covered various cultural fields, including theater, literature, translation, reading, films and other fields, and launched many interactive competitions such as “loneliness literature, the playwriting competition, the reading marathon, in addition to an initiative to support The Saudi film industry and the talents active in the field, by publishing an electronic link for a Saudi film every day of the preventive isolation period, and the Ministry succeeded in supporting the launch of the exhibition “The Art of Solitude”, the first virtual art exhibition that provides the visitor with a realistic simulation of art exhibitions and allows him to review the contents of the exhibition And movement between its halls through its electronic device, and the General Entertainment Authority, which was the government agency most affected by the pandemic, was able to present its activities in new and innovative ways, through new broadcast platforms. And she launched a series of entertainment programs and parties. While the Ministry of Sports was the focus of much anticipation in the Kingdom about the most pressing question about the future of the Saudi League, after a stoppage of 142 days, the Saudi Professional League announced the return of competitions in the Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Cup League on the fourth of August, without an audience and with preventive measures Strict. The Ministry of Sports went on to launch the E-gym initiative aimed at motivating and empowering community members to practice various activities and exercises from home, by presenting several sports programs via live broadcast and communicating with specialized trainers during the home isolation period, in addition to launching a “home race”. The Ministry of Information launched a “Memories” channel in which it displays the legacy of Saudi television over the past decades, and the launch came last April, according to the statement of the Radio and Television Authority, in a sense of the importance of what the Kingdom is going through today from the consequences of the new Corona virus, in order to participate with citizens and residents who committed themselves to staying. In their homes during this crisis by replaying television programs of the making days of a generation that is now leading the country.
It began with the “finance and university computer” … the story of technology and the Saudis
The first steps in the Kingdom’s story with technology came in the seventies of the twentieth century AD – according to academic research, when King Saud University, the Institute of Public Administration and the Ministry of Finance imported the new innovation “computer”. In the first years of the 1980s, a Computer College was established in the Kingdom at King Saud University in 1982, and three years later, the Civil Status Agency used the first computer in its work. Thus, the first building block of what is happening today began to be formed by the creation of the human component specialized in computer science before the emergence of the Internet in the mid-1990s. Ministries and government institutions gradually used the Internet during a period of time extending from 1994 to 1999. At first it was confined to the Ministries of Interior, Education and Health – whose presence was prominent during the pandemic – and then a number of ministries with special permission in 1997, and then everyone was allowed before Entering the new 21st century in a year. With the new millennium, the Ministry of Telegraph, Post and Telephone became the “Ministry of Communications and Information Technology,” which was preceded by the establishment of a body with the same name in 2001. In the same year, the new name of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology came to light, the “Yesser” program for electronic government transactions, as a new step. In strengthening the ground for digital transformation, which has emerged as a broad headline in the Saudi Vision 2030, approved by the Council of Ministers, and announced by Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Crown Prince, in 2016. The previous four steps were formed, starting with entering the computer, and then establishing a computer college to graduate the element Al-Bishri, reaching the third stage by entering the Internet, and fourthly, adopting and enacting legislation and regulations at the beginning of the second millennium, to keep pace with the concept of e-government, basic pillars in achieving the fifth stage of digital transformation, whose infrastructure has supported over the past three years by more than 15 billion riyals.