Jun 12, 2016 News
…Project still under review –Hughes
Even though Government had set aside more than $200M to resuscitate the PPP’s failed fibre optic cable project, Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes, said that the investment at the moment is stalled.
She said that two independent studies on the project were commissioned by Government. She said that these were a forensic audit which focused mainly on the financial operations and functioning of the eGovernance Unit over the period January 1, 2012 to May 31, 2015.
Hughes said that this was done by Ram and McRae Chartered Accountants and submitted on December 18, 2015. The Minister said that the second audit was done on the Georgetown to Lethem fibre optic cable project which was done by a team of telecommunications specialists. She said that a draft report was submitted on May 6, 2016 but it has not yet been accepted as final.
Hughes made it clear that while Government is in receipt of both audit reports, no decision has been taken to rehabilitate the Georgetown to Lethem fibre optic cable project. She said that the Project is still under review.
The Telecommunications Minister added that her administration is committed to transparency in public procurement; as such, any continuation of this project will conform to the National Procurement and Tenders Administration process.
In the National Assembly, Hughes articulated on several occasions that the ICT sector and the knowledge management industries will be the ones that will have to be cornerstone of this country’s future. On this premise, she made it known that Government intends to make a number of investments in the ICT sector.
The Telecommunications Minister said that in keeping with this thrust to expand broadband connectivity and the integration of Ministries, Government plans to invest $240M to resuscitate the troubled Fibre Optic Cable Project.
She explained that $140 million has been allocated to consolidate, monitor, maintain and extend the existing eGovernment Fibre Optic and LTE Network around Georgetown and along the coast from Moleson Creek to Charity.
Government will spend a further $100 M to repair and upgrade the Georgetown–Linden Fibre Optic Cable, Hughes said.
She recalled that this project was abandoned by the previous Administration after it had spent $1B. Hughes said that the lack of a feasibility study, poor planning, and absence of effective project management and the use of inexperienced contractors are some of the major contributing factors that led to the failure of this project.
Hughes said that Government 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.
The Parliamentarian asserted that the strengthening of the eGovernment system is critical in imparting added value to processes that characterize good governance. She said that improved connectivity within government will permit joint planning and assessment resulting in Government’s business processes becoming more efficient.
Minister Hughes noted that the eGovernment expansion will also serve to facilitate connectivity between Government and citizens thereby strengthening accountability, connectivity between government and citizens and connectivity between and within communities’ thereby building social cohesion and economic development.
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