– as $821.7M approved for Public Telecommunication Ministry
The Government plans to establish an Information Technology (IT) Centre of Excellence as one of several new projects that will be implemented to enhance the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Guyana. Initially $25M will be spent on this new project.
This Ccentre will provide training for public sector ICT professionals to ensure the availability of an appropriate and highly skilled ICT workforce, equipped with healthy attitudes, to meet the increasingly complex demands of the public and private sectors.
Recently defending the allocation to the newly gazetted Ministry, Public Telecommunication Minister Catherine Hughes told the National Assembly that the administration intends to effectively implement and utilise ICT to modernise Guyana to benefit all citizens.
“We must, as a national imperative, utilise ICT to improve the delivery of Government services to all our citizens. We must be able to process our various applications online quickly and get immediate responses to our queries via electronic and live helpdesks. Visits to government offices to collect a form and having to return to drop it off must become a thing of the past,” the Minister stated.
The administration has committed to designing the appropriate policies, establishing a proper regulatory framework, institutional strengthening, training and infrastructure development to achieve its ICT goals.
“The Government of Guyana will ensure that affordable universal broadband access is available for all citizens, private sector, government and civil society, thereby eliminating the digital divide. Universal access will extend beyond voice to include internet, computing devices, information literacy and access to telecommunications services, all of these if implemented properly will increase the gross domestic product,” Minister Hughes assured.
In 2016, Government intends to leverage the capabilities of ICT to transform Guyana’s economy making it more productive and competitive. There are plans to establish ICT hubs in communities countrywide with specific emphasis on providing hinterland communities with internet access.
According to the Minister, in supporting widespread access to information and eGovernment Services, Government will spend a further $100M to repair and upgrade the Georgetown–Linden Fibre Optic Cable.
Minister Hughes believes that it was the lack of a feasibility study, poor planning, absence of effective project management and the use of inexperienced contractors are some of the major factors that led to the failure of this project.
“We will move to correct all this so that the people of Guyana, regardless of their socio-economic status or remoteness will be digitally connected and socially included,” she committed.
In keeping with this thrust to expand broadband connectivity and the integration of Ministries, Government will also invest $140M to consolidate, monitor, maintain and extend the existing eGovernment Fibre Optic and LTE Network around Georgetown and along the coast from Moleson Creek, in Region Six, East Berbice, Corentyne to Charity in Region Two, Pomeroon/Supenaam.
The administration also intends to accelerate its drive to fulfill its expressed commitment to supply educators and institutions of learning with computers, laptops and tablets, along with access to the Internet.
The Ministry of Public Telecommunication was allocated $821.7M from the 2016 national budget. This allocation will facilitate the implementation of the Ministry’s current and capital work programme. (GINA)
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