PM encourages J’cans to harness potential of digital economy
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is encouraging Jamaicans to embrace the possibilities that can result from the country’s transition to a digital economy.
He noted that “many times, booms have come in the digital global economy and we have not been able to ride them. We are now on the upswing of the digital era. Let us take advantage of it ... let us not fear it”.
Holness was speaking at the launch of the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.
He said that the Government continues to proceed in a “very deliberate way” with plans to integrate technology into its daily operations in keeping with a commitment to ensuring that Jamaica leapfrogs the digital divide.
“In the coming years, it will be the societies that have embraced technology and used it for innovation that will be the [global] leaders,” the prime minister contended.
“It is clear that the [transformation to] a digital society is imminent, it is irresistible, and the faster you embrace it and get ahead of it, [the better the chances that] you will lessen the digital divide,” he added.
The prime minister highlighted work being done by members of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme Digitisation Corps to digitise thousands of paper-based documents.
“Having done that, you now have content, data, that you can use to populate databases. When you have that level of data, whether it is (information for) health records, or motor vehicles, or companies, you, as the Government, are in a much better position to make decisions,” he noted.
Holness also emphasised the importance of having a reliable national identification system (NIDS), through which persons can be assured that “when you present yourselves, you are known, you are acknowledged, and you can get service”.
He said that the administration is “moving ahead to put in place the backbone that is going to be necessary to have the system work”.
“We have a form which the NIDS will take. We just need to approve it and get it back on the parliamentary agenda and, hopefully, it will be satisfactory to our courts,” he noted.
The Electronic Business Registration Form will facilitate online 24-hour registration of business names and companies from any location globally. It replaces the one-stop shop superform introduced in 2014.
The form is the result of collaboration between the Cabinet Office and Companies Office of Jamaica through support from the Inter-American Development Bank.