International News: February 2010

Kuwait Ministry Launches e-Payment System

Ministry of Electricity and Water  inaugurated the new online bill payment service. The introduction of the online services, which the ministry began implementing five months ago, were designed to facilitate bill payment and preserve public funds.

The service is the first step in the ministry’s implementation of the ‘e-Government’ program initiated by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah.

Customers of all state bodies and government-related private authorities can now pay their bills anytime and anywhere following the introduction of the new service.  Automated bill payment equipment is also to be introduced in all Kuwait’s governorate offices to make it easier for citizens to pay their bills.

e-Government Inaugurated in Sukkur by Sindh Minister

Sindh Minister for Information Technology (IT) inaugurated the e-Government project in Sukkur on January 25, 2010. e-Government was meant for providing basic facilities to the people. The project would ensure transparency and merit in the recruitment of employees in various departments.

The project would be launched in 22 districts of Sindh and all the departments will be linked for the convenience of the people. The purpose behind the e-Government was to secure documentation of the data of the district government departments.

Such projects would also be initiated at Taluka level. Activities of all the departments would be monitored through the project and data regarding finance, domicile and accounts would be secured as well.

Saudi Arabia to Issue Exit, re-entry Visas Online

Saudi Arabia’s passport department has launched a new online service to enable exit and re-entry visas to facilitate its own citizens and expatriates. Though the department’s website ( is in Arabic, there is an option to display forms and instructions on how to complete them in English.

Exit, re-entry visas are issued to Saudi Arabian citizens who wish to leave and then return to the country. An initial one-off registration, however, needs to be completed and delivered to a local passport office. There is also an e-Gate section that offers an electronic card for easy entrance and exit at Saudi airports. The website also provides short code numbers for local mobile operators. There is also a code for visa cancellation.

After all the conditions are met, an SMS message would be sent to the applicant for verification. Once that is confirmed the visa would be issued can be then printed from the website ( by entering the visa number and confirmation number.

Latvia Approves Personal ID Cards

Latvia’s government has given the green light for introducing electronic identification cards for its citizenry, a decision that will ultimately help Latvia embrace the electronic age to a far greater extent.

The cards, or eIDs will not only secure citizens’ identification while traveling abroad or receiving government or municipal services, but also authenticity in the electronic environment. Latvia will be the last of the three Baltic countries to introduce the eID, which first appeared in Estonia several years ago.

Zimbabwe’s Cabinet approves National ICT Plan

Zimbabwe’s Cabinet has approved a national information and communication technology (ICT) plan for the country, expected to be launched by the end of this month or in February. The ICT plan, which will be operational till 2015, will be presented to the President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai before unveiling to the public.

The ICT plan is expected to address issues like licencing, number portability, infrastructure, mobile phone security, digital security, e-governance, e-education and e-health, as well as the overall growth perspectives for the ICT sector. It aims to bridge the technology gap among Zimbabwe and the African neighbours by providing modern technology, becoming a hub of software and hardware development and establishing a consultative body to advise ICT Minister on the available policies.

Special Courts to Tackle Cyber Crime in UAE

To synchronise the judicial system with the evolving growth and the diverse impact of Internet, the UAE has determined to open special courts for Internet related crimes, also known as cyber crimes. The development is the result of the ministerial resolution held on January 4 of this year to further the court reforms and combating the looming cyber related threats to government institutions and the private companies.

Dr Hadef Bin Jua’an Al Daheri, Minister of Justice, said that the country has specialist judges with PhDs in the area of cyber crime, IT and related legislations.  He said that as technology continues to evolve and cyber criminals become increasingly sophisticated, the UAE must remain focused and be one step ahead.