Bahrain plans to extend smartcard usage
Manama, November 14, 2012
Bahrain is expected to be the first Gulf country to allow GCC nationals to complete all official procedures using only their identity smart card, said a senior government official.
Other GCC countries are expected to follow suit, Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel told MPs during their weekly session yesterday (November 13), according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"We have taken the initiative to implement the smart cards decision approved by the GCC Summit last year and have spent a year drawing up a plan and now, with it being ready, we have presented it to the National Assembly for approval," said Al Fadhel.
An Interior Ministry representative said that using the smart card to complete all procedures was an extension of the current system in which all GCC nationals were allowed to travel in the Gulf using smart cards.
"It means that we will be the first to accept GCC smart cards for official dealings and procedures before any other member state," he added.
Parliament public utilities and environment affairs committee chairman Hassan Al Dossary said he hoped other GCC countries would follow through on pledges to implement it after Bahrain, unlike previous initiatives.
"We allowed equal treatment of GCC nationals in the civil service and buying lands in Bahrain, but it took many years for other countries to start implementing it," he said.
"All we are looking for is a short timeframe in which all GCC countries start implementing the smart card system for all official business."
MPs approved the plan and the bill will now be studied by the Shura Council. – TradeArabia News Service