Dubai is a regional leader in the e-government project and on the right track but there is scope for improvement, said a professor of information systems yesterday.

Dr George K. Kostopoulos was speaking at the ninth GCC e-Government, Telecom and Internet Forum which opened on Saturday.

Outlining areas which need to be improved, he said these are transition management skills, new balance of power, cadre creation, need for IT professionals, training of civil servants, cyber issues, computer literacy and Internet access.

"The e-government project is an agent for change. It helps melting of government rigidity and increases decision-making transparency.

"The UAE is a regional leader in e-government. Dubai is a regional consultant in e-government. It has 24 departments online, online resident permit and visa renewal, e-gate at Dubai International Airport, e-traffic advisory, e-dirham for payments and an outstanding information portal.

"Bahrain, ranked 12th in e-government worldwide last year, is the first in e-voting. It has major e-government telecom investments, Cisco, plans for IP telephony for government Intranet, and e-payments into government and business.

"Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are on the road to e-government," said Dr Kostopoulos. The five-day forum will discuss technology issues in e-Government.

Tarek Niazi, executive director, SmartSquare Business Development, said: "The e-government projects are aimed to directly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the government's transactions through the use of improved technology.

"Once established, these e-Government initiatives will eliminate redundant systems and significantly improve the government's quality of service for citizens and businesses."