Major Initiatives slated to improve ICT sector- SMART Guyana to be launched in second quarter of 2017

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, August 04, 2017

As efforts continue to improve capacity for economic resilience in the face of ever-changing domestic and global landscapes, diversification remains paramount. The National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy is intended to provide the framework to guide the development of the ICT sector.

According to the Ministry of Finance Mid-Year report, concurrently, the legislative framework relating to ICT continues to be updated. To maximise efficiency, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications is coordinating with its sister agencies that are already implementing similar legislative reforms, in order to reduce duplication of efforts.

 

The report specified that emphasis is being placed on the Electronic Transactions and Data Protection legislation, Intellectual Property Rights legislation, and legislation related to e-commerce.

To ensure that ICT penetrates all facets of the economy in the support of   development, the   National   Data   Management   Authority (NDMA) is fashioning Smart Guyana.

This initiative would facilitate comprehensive integration of information systems and electronic services to improve the efficacy of all levels of government.  This would result in smart classrooms and eLibraries for distance education and eLearning, eHealth solutions to provide remote health care for hinterland regions, CCTV, and Safe City solutions to improve public security, and virtual desktop infrastructure to provide for greater e-security, better access, and lower costs for government information systems

In order to bridge the ICT gap between the hinterland and the coastland, and guarantee equitable provision of services, a project designed for ICT Access and eServices for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities, is expected to be funded under the Guyana-Norway Agreement.

The project-a proposal describing US$17 million, a five-year intervention was formally submitted to the GRIF Secretariat in the second quarter and is expected to bolster the existing connectivity drive.

Government intends to host a national ICT roundtable, in the last quarter of 2017, where the draft National ICT Strategy will be presented for discussion and input from stakeholders.

With regard to the conclusion of the liberalisation of the Telecommunications Sector, the requisite regulations have been published for comment. In addition, negotiations continue with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Limited (GTT) and are expected to be completed before the end of the year. It is also envisaged that a Telecommunications Authority will be established to monitor and regulate the newly liberalised industry in keeping with legislative requirements and regulations.

“As we continue to develop capacity to catalyse the development of the ICT sector, work advanced on the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology which is slated for conclusion in the second half of 2017. The implementing agency in India– the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)–will procure and deliver the necessary ICT infrastructure and course materials by December of this year”, the report said.

The report added, to ensure efforts to develop the ICT sector are sustainable and effective, public engagement initiatives will be heightened in the second half of the year. Two Hackathons are slated to take place; one will be a four-week competition and the other a 48-hour competition.

Additionally, the government will be hosting an internet week where a series of workshops will be held on topics focusing on the back-end aspects of ICT, and will be facilitated by industry professionals. It is anticipated that between 150 and 200 persons are expected to benefit.

During the first half, of 2017 42 additional government and educational institutions were connected to the eGovernment network.

 

By: Gabriela Patram



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