ICT Access for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities project to get underway

… over 200 Community ICT hubs to be created over 5 years

Residents of remote, hinterland and far rural communities will, over the next five years, be able to access the worldwide web, social media and government services close to home.

This US$17M project is being funded under the Guyana/Norway Agreement by the Guyana Redd+ International Fund (GRIF), and it will be managed by the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP).

During an interview with DPI on Thursday, Public Telecommunications Minister, Catherine Hughes, said that about 89,000 residents in approximately 170 communities would eventually have access to more than 200 ICT hubs to be created over the next 5 years.

“In every single community we want residents to know that if they do not have internet service at home, they will soon be able to visit a hub and access service free of charge,” Minister Hughes said.

Some of these services include government’s e-services including as filing tax returns and applying for business compliance certificates. The Minister noted that the project will provide funding to begin the actual expansion of existing e-services into a much broader offering that will include agricultural services, tax information and certificates, bill and pension payments, and community fault reporting.

“This project gives us a splendid opportunity to improve delivery of government services online, services that our people currently have to travel to towns and the city to access in person.” The government of Guyana, she said, will provide to its citizens not only passport services online, but most others that can be put online.

“Another important component that the project is that it will allow a higher level of transparency.”

“We have been dealing with problems and challenges that have been systemic in Guyana for the last 20 to 25 years, so the issue of corruption and the need to enhance transparency in the things we do is a real issue for us in Government. When we talk of the culture of ‘runnings’ that exists in Guyana, we’re really referring to the tremendous amount of work being done in a lot of the Ministries, the amount of time that is being spent working to get rid of the ‘runnings’ in each Ministry. The government has a zero tolerance for that kind of activity,” Minister Hughes emphasised.

She expressed confidence that once these (aforementioned) services are online… I am confident that over time that is how we will eradicate this challenge of internal corruption and the lack of transparency.”
Source: Gabreila Patram – DPI