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Jordan's ICT Ministry - A step forward towards e-government

The launching this week of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fortifies Jordan's position along the world's Information Highway.

JORDAN (Star) - The launching this week of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fortifies Jordan's position along the world's Information Highway.
Minister of ICT, Dr Fawaz Al Zou'bi, said Jordan's new e-ministry will adopt new responsibilities aimed at development across all levels of technology, education and public awareness to drive adoption. The new mandate enables the Kingdom to execute a comprehensive ICT policy to enhance awareness among Jordanians over the significance of using technology in their daily living.

Such a policy will be sustained through a nation-wide action plan to stimulate local and foreign technology investments in the IT sector. Launching an e-ministry in Jordan reflects the dynamic role it plays as it copes with the fast-changing technology standards that are re-shaping the world and setting new benchmarks in human capability and achievement.

"With the new Telecom Law in place, the ministry's role will no longer include a regulatory function," said Al Zou'bi. "Hence, there will be more independence to the regulator, ensuring that it establishes a vibrant, competitive environment to further strengthen the sector. This transforms the traditional paper-based government into an online business."

The minister explained the core function of the e-ministry is to assist the modernization of e-government. He added this year the government would undergo a very ambitious program to lay the foundation of the e-government in the Kingdom.

"The roadmap and blueprint, which identify the program's main building blocks and prioritizes them for the next five years are completed. The Ministry is developing eight fast-track project," he said. Two of these projects are the business registration and the licensing of telecom companies through the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

Jordan's IT sector is already doing business, despite that it is still young and maturing. Al Zou'bi noted the e-government team took part in various visits to Singapore earlier this year to imitate the Asian nation's adaptation to the IT-run government. He said Jordan is also receiving more attention from different countries, including Italy and Netherlands, willing to sponsor e-government projects in Jordan.

"We must create and drive new opportunities for Jordanians to help the Kingdom to have an appropriate investment climate." The immediate responsibilities of the ICT Ministry include the liberalization of the telecommunications sector and the continued growth and promotion of the IT sector. "We are working to create a cutting edge governmental organization, moving away from the classical approach to a very transparent, efficiently managed entity to deliver services efficiently.

Al Zou'bi made clear the education sector in Jordan is on the top of the Ministry's principal concerns, to underscore the Kingdom's move to provide broadband connectivity to all schools and educational institutions to enable today's generations meeting the future job opportunities.

The latest Telecom Law also offers mechanisms to create better investment opportunities, channeling through a five-member independent regulatory body separating policy-makers from the regulation process. "There is a vital partnership between the private and public sectors and needs to be stronger. My mission is to make sure all parties involved address these issues and work jointly to build a competent tech offering."

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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