WORLD Feature: Kuwaiti gov't shifts to e-service amid COVID-19 spread

WORLD

Feature: Kuwaiti gov't shifts to e-service amid COVID-19 spread

Xinhua

19:16, November 18, 2020

KUWAIT CITY, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- As companies and government institutions in Kuwait fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, paperwork in the Arab country no longer takes much time.

 Kuwaiti (Photo: Xinhua)

The coronavirus has forced many institutions to shift to online services such as renewing residence permit or driving license and making appointments.

After the outbreak of the coronavirus in February, many ministries of Kuwait activated their websites and online services and carried out most transactions electronically, to avoid crowding and limit the virus' spread.

The e-service saves time and effort for citizens and residents, who used to spend days on these matters.

Suleiman Al-Nahedh, a 51-year-old Kuwaiti citizen, told Xinhua that coronavirus has changed a lot of procedures in governmental departments.

"Despite the negative impacts of coronavirus on health and economy, it has contributed to well organizing the departments and made its work smoother and faster," he said.

Abbas Ali, a 46-year-old Lebanese resident, said that he was able to renew his driving license within minutes last Saturday although it was weekend.

"I logged into my account on the Ministry of Interior website and submitted my application, where I was asked to upload a personal photo, a copy of my civil ID and signature electronically, and hours later, I received an SMS to pay the renewal fee to obtain my license that is valid for three years," he said.

He used to take a day off from his work to go early in the morning to various government agencies in order to renew his residence permit or driving license, with a pile of paperwork and copies.

Things have changed a lot after coronavirus outbreak, as administrative transactions have become easier and can be done with one click, Ali noted.

Saeed Khalaf, a 41-year-old Egyptian resident, has renewed the residence visa of his eight-year-old son in a few minutes.

"The website of the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) directed me to the health insurance link. It took only minutes to pay the fee and finish my son's residence visa," he said.

The PACI made it easier for citizens and residents to receive civil IDs, and it also launched last week home delivery of civil ID cards.

The authority has launched an application "My ID" via smart phones, showing personal civil ID according to the latest data and hence no need to carry the real ID card.

The app is a secure digital identity, which can be used to verify the identity of its holder in government and non-governmental institutions.

Moreover, it has other functions like appointment. Kuwaiti citizen Abdullah Al-Saad was able to help renew the residence visa for the domestic worker who works at his home.

He said he was able to certify official documents by obtaining an appointment for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the app.

"The procedure was organized where limited people showed up according to their appointment and finished their paperwork faster," he said.

For her part, Bashayer Al-Hamad, who works as an administrator in a government agency, told Xinhua that the appointment system greatly facilitates the work of the employees, as this service allowed them to finish their work safely away from fears of infection.

Government institutions in Kuwait are keen to implement health requirements imposed by the Ministry of Health, such as social distancing and wearing masks, since they resumed work on Aug. 18 with a staff attendance rate of 50 percent, as part of the fourth phase of the government's plan to return to normal life.

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