‘The infrastructure for the e-government programme is now in place and we are ready for an official launch on 29 October,’ says Salem Khamis al-Shair, the director of Dubai’s e-services programme.

The US’ Electronic Data Services (EDS)has acted as the consultant on the initiative for just under a year.

‘Not only is Dubai the first government in the region to digitalise, it is the first in the world to attempt to digitalise all its services through a single portal,’ says Richard Brown, EDS’ chairman and chief executive officer. ‘The process is about making government more efficient and more effective. Our approach has been to identify the need, define the solution and then construct the enabling technologies. The timeline has been aggressive, but the hardest part has been getting the architects to see the overall vision.’

The development of the e-government portal, which aims to bring all the transactions conducted by the government of Dubai online, has been accelerated by the award of a third contract on the e-services programme. Oracle Middle East, part of the US’ Oracle Corporation, has been awarded a contract, estimated to be worth $20 million, which covers finance, budgeting, internet procurement and human resources management packages. The US’ JD Edwardswas the other bidder for the contract.

A group of the local Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, with NCR and Cisco, both of the US, was awarded the first contract on the programme. This is for the general information network package and covers setting up the basic infrastructure that will connect all the government departments.

The second contract, for government resource planning, was awarded to the US’ Sun Microsystems. Works include setting up the shared-services portal.