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The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s One-Stop-Shop has won a WSIS Project Prize in Geneva, Switzerland, in the category of e-business. This win was announced during the Opening Ceremony of the WSIS Forum 2012 event, which is taking place this week in the Swiss capital, Geneva, amid wide international participation of government bodies and institutions involved in IT, and private institutions and individuals concerned with IT from all over the world.

The Sultanate’s delegation to the Forum is headed by Dr. Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of the Information Technology Authority (ITA), and includes representatives of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Muscat Municipality.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) evolved as a means of recognizing the importance of the revolution in ICTs as a means of shaping the future of the world. World leaders decided that a global vision and a global dialogue were needed to build the framework of an all-inclusive and equitable Information Society. Thus, WSIS was born. The goal of WSIS is to achieve a common vision, desire and commitment to build a citizen-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information.

The prizes, which are being awarded for the first time this year, recognize excellence in the implementation of projects and initiatives which further the goals of the World Summit on the Information Summit (WSIS) in improving connectivity to information and communication technologies (ICTs). With more than 170 projects from 50 countries nominated, winning such prestigious recognition the Sultanate has made an indelible mark at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

The One-Stop-Shop of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has received this Award in recognition of its contribution to the growth of the economy of Oman. The creation of this system arose from a conviction by the government of the importance of investment in all economic fields, by providing support to investors and businessmen, regardless of their nationalities, and eliminating all obstacles that limit the work of this sector. The idea of establishing a system with the participation of several government bodies thus emerged in order to help investors quickly, efficiently and at the lowest costs complete business in one place. This one-stop-shop system includes the provision of e-business services to the business sector through modern technology, which has approximately more than 60 completely automated e-services in various ministerial sectors (i.e. trade, industry, minerals).

The application of a one-stop-shop system offers many benefits including: ensuring transparency and clarity of the electronic documentary cycle of applications, approvals and fees; giving accurate statistics on the volume of received transactions, as well as completed transactions and the amount of times of completion and in general all the transactions from the beginning of the receipt until the completion; providing full information about the volume of investment in the Sultanate; as well as, enabling the use of digital documents instead of paper documents, where many of the papers are dispensed with and reliance on the information entered and taken directly from the client, is circulated as an electronic document between the destinations of the system.

Since its creation, the One-Stop-Shop system has witnessed an influx of a large number of requests and transactions being submitted through the system, where they exceeded the expected number and increased in an unprecedented way. The percentage of annual increase has reached more than 15%, with a total number of submitted applications of 223,091 at the end of 2011.

His Excellency Yahya bin Salim Al Wahaibi, the Sultanate’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations and at the international organizations, said, “We congratulate the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Winning this Award from amongst 18 projects that qualified for the final stage is a tremendous achievement and honor for the Sultanate and reflects the success and progress that has been achieved in the field of information technology and communications.”

On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Manal Al Abdwani, Director General of Planning and Follow Up at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said, “Winning this award for the One-Stop-Shop of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows the project’s contribution towards the growth of the national economy.” She added, “The IT industry helps in simplifying procedures and cuts short the document cycle through the use of modern technologies.”

Dr. Salim Ruzaiqi, CEO of the Information Technology Authority, participating in high-level dialogues involving ministers and heads of eGovernment bodies and institutions across the world, discussed topics relating to the information society such as sustainable development, information security, skills and capacity building in the field of information technology and the development of electronic services.

The Sultanate is also participating in an exhibition along the sidelines of the Forum, through a stand displaying the achievements of the Sultanate regarding the support of women in the field of information technology. Being showcased are the Women Community Knowledge Centers (WCKC) and other initiatives in this area where the empowerment of women in the field of information technology is considered one of the main themes of this Forum.

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