Five Post Offices Selected for E-Services Pilot Project

Five of the island’s post offices have been selected to introduce a range of commercial and e-transaction services under a new pilot initiative being implemented by the Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Ministry.
Speaking on (October 23) at the launch of the Public Education Programme for the Electronic Transactions Act at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings disclosed that the five selected are Santa Cruz, Christiana, May Pen, Darliston and Port Antonio.
Mr. Mullings noted that “a bright future lay ahead for the Post and Telecommunications Department”, which, he noted, is taking advantage of the technology wave. “The Post and Telecommunications Department has introduced a range of new commercial and agency services, aimed at leveraging customers’ demand for e-transactions services,” he informed.
He said that funds from the Universal Access Fund will be used by the post offices to establish community access points that will provide broadband access to residents in marginalized and underserved communities.”This will allow a farmer anywhere in Jamaica to negotiate via the Internet with a buyer in the United States for the sale of bananas, coffee or other agricultural products,” he noted.
In addition, the post offices will soon be offering electronic business services for the collection, distribution and clearance of items through a Miami warehouse. “This service will accommodate persons who purchase items online or overseas. It is geared towards removing the hassle of purchasing and clearing items through customs,” he explained.
The five selected post offices will also offer a courier service which will provide pick-up and mail service for customers in the Corporate Area. They would also provide door-to-door service at competitive prices, with accountable delivery and tracking systems.
Speaking broadly about the Electronics Transactions Act, Mr. Mullings noted that many opportunities exist for the provision of electronic services for all major sectors in Jamaica, including e-banking, e-agriculture, e-security, e-learning, e-health and e-tourism services, which when tapped will translate into “increased revenue for Jamaica”.
Mr. Mullings said that the government has to lead the e-transaction drive and he pointed to government agencies such as the Trade Board Limited, the Companies Office of Jamaica, the National Land Agency, the National Housing Trust, the Registrar General Department, the Inland Revenue Department and the Customs Department which were successfully offering on-line services”.
“In fact, figures from the Department of Customs indicate a steady growth in the number of persons who are doing business with via the Internet,” he pointed out. Some 11.9 per cent of all payments made to the Customs Department in April 2007, were done over the Internet, translating into online payments of $577,686,871.00. “To date, $1,902,140,291 of e-payments have been collected by Customs. This represents 11.3 per cent of the total collections,” Minister Mullings revealed.
He added that total collections through the government’s tax portal now stand at $550.3 million. “This signifies that consumers are gaining more confidence in electronic government services,” he said.
The public education programme will highlight the roles, responsibilities, rights and benefits that obtain under the Electronic Transactions Act which was passed in Parliament in April of this year.
The public education programme will use radio, television and print media, focus groups and regional meetings across the island to sensitize the public. “I want to assure you that this E-Transactions Act is not one that will be added to the law books, for the sake of adding another law, but this is one that impacts all of us. It will be a useful instrument for consumers and business people to learn their rights as well as the correct protocols and procedures that will be involved in transacting business online,” Mr. Mullings stressed.

JIS Social