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Government allocates millions for ICT project

Published:Monday | March 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Government is spending an additional $109.4 million this year on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Project in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), which is scheduled to end in June.

The 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditure indicated that the project, jointly funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) since June 2003, aims to promote enhanced efficiency and access, thereby reducing transaction costs and increasing ICT use in the private and public sectors.

In so doing, the project will seek to enhance Jamaica's e-readiness, as well as support the development of the ICT sector in order to increase competitiveness, diversity, export, and expand productive employment.

Under the project, technical assistance will be provided for the Central Information Technology Office to periodically update the national ICT strategy, and develop an action plan for the introduction of ICT in sectors such as education, health and agriculture.

In addition, the assistance will allow the Government to modify the legal and regulatory framework governing the ICT sector; procure hardware and software for the establishment of an online tax-payment system for several major revenue streams; establish approxi-mately 60 community access points, to enable rural and low-income residents to gain access to the Internet; and train persons in various areas of the ICT sector to meet local demand for trained technicians.

Up to December 2009, the project has achieved the establishment of the fully operational Trade Board Information System and 12 com-munity access points; completion of public key infrastructure; procure-ment of hardware and software incorporated in the government's online tax-portal system (which has been launched and is fully operational); and completion of a public-education programme, in-volving the distribution of brochures and posters.

It is anticipated that this year, the collection of the performance data on the new online tax portal will be completed, and that a project completion report for distribution to stakeholders will be prepared, among other activities.

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