Upgrading of ICT Infrastructure Will Boost Productivity – Senator Morgan

Jamaica News: Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Robert Morgan, says upgrading of the Government’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure will improve productivity as persons will be able to transact more business online.

“Think about the amount of time Jamaicans spend in lines or in traffic and then calculate the value of that time to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and… to productivity for businesses,” he said.

“The purpose of the ICT upgrade is not only to open government 24/7, where you can do business at whatever time, but it’s also to make it more efficient for businesses to function so that we can have a fully digital economy that functions 24/7,” he said.

Senator Morgan was addressing a Rotary Club of Kingston meeting at The Pegasus hotel on Thursday (July 11).

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The build-out of the Government’s ICT framework is being undertaken by e-Gov Limited. The objective is to establish a secure and modern platform where citizens can better interact with the Government, and facilitate quicker and easier access to services, thereby enhancing ease of doing business.

The work is being done under the National Identification System (NIDS) project, which is being implemented through a US$68-million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Senator Morgan noted that 80 per cent of the funds are being used to strengthen ICT upgrading at various departments and agencies, creating a unified system, which will better assist the Government in collating data regarding beneficiaries under the various welfare programmes.

“Part of the ICT buildout is to ensure that all the systems can speak to each other. With over 300,000 children in the school system in Jamaica, it’s very difficult for a human being to pick out individual anomalies within the system, but if you have an ICT structure that’s connected and merged, then you can do that,” he pointed out.

He said that the technology platform will further serve to eliminate corruption.

“The best way to kill corruption is to boost efficiency…so that you can do your business without having to factor into your budget, money to deal with corruption,” he pointed out.

Management of the system will be done by a new agency, the National Identification Registration Authority, which will incorporate the work of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).

Meanwhile, Senator Morgan said that the Government will continue consultations and education about the benefits of NIDS in an effort to make it a better law when it is tabled in the House of Representatives.

“We are going to continue implementing NIDS within the framework of what the courts have said, but on the platform of the Government ICT infrastructure framework,” he noted.

A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year rendered the enabling legislation passed in Parliament in 2017 null and void, thereby halting aspects of the project.

 

Source: JIS News

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