JIS News

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell has said that the government’s e-service programme has been a success.
Speaking at the opening of the Central Information Technology Office’s (CITO) 3rd regional summit yesterday (May 9) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Minister Paulwell said that Jamaica was increasingly becoming technologically advanced, and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) had become an important part of service delivery.
Minister Paulwell noted that a number of government agencies have been providing online services in an effort to improve efficiency. “As we become increasingly reliant on technology, the government has been offering an increasing number of services, online, to make it easier for all our citizens to do business and we have recorded successes in the deployment of e-services,” he affirmed.
Some of these initiatives, he noted, include the Jamaica Customs e-payment system, which facilitates online import duty payments; the National Land Agency’s e-land Jamaica facility, which allows subscribers to view and print information pertaining to their lands; the Companies of Jamaica online access facility, which allows access to forms for registration of companies; and the Inland Revenue Department’s tax payment portal, to facilitate the payment of taxes online.
Citing the success of the Inland Revenue Department’s online payment system, the Minister said that a number of taxpayers have started using the service, as it was convenient and reliable.
“During the last quarter ending March 2006, approximately $9 million was collected [online], making the total collected to date in excess of $73 million,” he informed.
“Over 3,400 users have registered to use the system, indicating a growing number of users as more and more people become aware of the facility and I am very pleased with the development in Jamaica, of an infrastructure that will support this e-government project,” he noted further.
In addition to equipping more agencies to provide online services for its citizenry, Minister Paulwell indicated that all communities throughout Jamaica would soon be able to access the Internet via the use of wireless technology.
“Later this year, we intend to roll out with a number of private sector companies, wireless broadband facilities, the likes of which this hemisphere would not have seen, as what we want in Jamaica is that every ‘nook and cranny’ will become a veritable hotspot,” he declared.
Noting the importance of disaster preparedness and recovery to organizations, Minister Paulwell emphasized that it was crucial for “top level management” to lead the process, as it was only with their full support that a disaster management plan could be successfully undertaken. “While we seek to build greater awareness at all levels of our population, it is very important at the top leadership levels,” he emphasized.
As a major player in the ICT sector, one of CITO’s major objectives is to play a lead role in educating both the public and private sectors on the effective use of technology. It is against this background that CITO hosted summits in 2004 and 2005, focusing on the issue of Data Security and Wireless Technology, respectively.
The theme for the 2006 Summit: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery: Utilizing Information and Communications Technology, was chosen in light of the number of natural hazards, such as hurricanes, that have affected Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region for the past two years, and the need for businesses to be prepared for such events.
Sponsors and partners for this year’s summit are Citrix, Digicel, Fujitsu, IBM, Illuminat Jamaica, NCB E-Business, Anbell, Anngel, NWC, Cable & Wireless, Island Network Limited, Productive Business Solutions, NEM Insurance and Miphone.