Digital Transformation Ministry ‘brimming with projects’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo/Jeff K Mayers

THE GOVERNMENT is seeking to treble the number of community information and communications technology (ICT) centres by the end of 2022 as part of its efforts to transform society and the economy into a digital one, says Wayne Nakhid, deputy chief digital officer at the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

There are 12 currently, and this, Nakhid said, is just one of the many ways the government is seeking to develop society into a digital one.

“Citizen-centric service delivery must be the focus of our transformation efforts,” he said, speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce’s (AmCham) webinar, Enabling the Digital Economy, on Wednesday.

He outlined priorities of and developments made by the government in its efforts to modernise its services.

“Everyone has heard of the ‘no wrong door.’ That’s what we want to achieve. We want to ensure that once a citizen goes to one government agency, that he does not have to walk out that door and go to a second, third, and fourth agency to complete one transaction,” he said.

“What we are looking at is end-to-end consumption and delivery of goods and services. We want to move away from both the fragmented and siloed approaches of old.

“We have a number of independent organisations, whether they be a ministry, a department or agencies (which are) very much independent – but interdependent on the sharing of data and information.”

The government’s digital transformation agenda focuses on three pillars: ICT for all citizens; economic development and diversification; and better government services and a more efficient government.

“(ICT for all) speaks to the needs of all citizens, not only have access to digital technology but they are also able to use it effectively…The digital economy (is about) the digitalisation of private-sector agencies in TT and the economic opportunities created by new and emerging technology from which our local entrepreneurs and investors can benefit.”

On the need for better government services and efficiency, Nakhid said, “This would be of no surprise to anyone in the government’s ICT community.”

TTConnect ­– an online platform for government services and information – is pending an upgrade to give citizens access to more information and services, he said, while a government cloud and a national electronic ID (e-ID) system are being developed and the digitisation of all government records is being pursued.

One of the primary benefits of the e-ID, Nakhid said, would be removing the need to provide more than one form of identification to access government services or open a bank account.

Other potential projects he outlined include expanding free wi-fi across the country; improved online learning, using digital textbooks; building an open-source repository; a new government portal; an online cocoa store; traceability for fine-flavour local cocoa; an online crafts store for local artisans; mobile applications (health and security); drone technology for agriculture; improved social benefits distribution using the new e-ID; strengthening cybersecurity and enhancing personal data protection; vaccine passports, and others.

“We must work hard, we must work collaboratively, and above all, we must work with our colleagues, both in government: ministries, departments, agencies, other government, civil society, international organisations, such as the CTU (Caribbean Telecommunication Union), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and most importantly the private sector,” said Nakhid.