Jamaica can Attain First World Status Through ICT – Mullings


Energy, Mining and Telecommunications Minister, Clive Mullings, has said that Jamaica is capable of attaining first world status and generating significant global impact through information and communications technology (ICT).
He has, however, lamented the “lack of technical capacity” in this regard, which he said, could limit the country’s ability to take advantage of opportunities which could accrue, particularly within the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
“If we are not ready..if we are not capable, then we won’t be able to take best advantage of the opportunities that are there,” Mr. Mullings said as he addressed a breakfast meeting at the Courtleigh Hotel this morning (March 14), to announce plans for the 5th annual regional summit of the Central Information Technology Office (CITO). “It is critical for us because what we are seeing is the movement, now, to get the synergies together. CITO has been given a particular role (in this regard),” he stated.
The Minister pointed out that the private sector is leading the ICT development thrust noting that their progress is not “hamstrung by certain bureaucracies (or) by a sense of territorialism.”
“Unfortunately, in the government sector, we have those problems, and most of them, I believe, are coming out of a good intention to prevent abuses. You put in checks and balances and procurement procedures, which, at some point in time, create a bottleneck. So it is technology, it is ICT that will cut through all of that,” he underscored.
Another challenge facing the public sector, Mr. Mullings said, is the lack of connection among agencies, noting that “everybody is caught up with the latest technology that they want to put into the ministries.”
“So we end up doubling what you ought to be paying, or tripling that, and then say ‘how come we have to spend so much on ICT and we’re not getting results at the other end’. We have to change that,” he stated. Mr. Mullings noted that the upcoming CITO summit will allow all participating stakeholders to brainstorm about the efficiencies and other benefits to be derived from ICT.
The CITO summit will be staged from May 7-8 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, under the theme: E-Powering Business: Maximizing the Opportunities.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of CITO, Dainsworth Richards, said this year’s summit was aimed at empowering Jamaican and regional organizations to “maximize on all available technology (in order) to move their operations, the country, into a leadership position, in the exciting world of the global marketplace.”
Some 100 persons, drawn from a range of sectors, are expected to attend the summit which is being staged in conjunction with the Jamaica Business Development Centre and several private sector organizations.

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