Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, believes Jamaica can replicate the success recorded by Estonia, which has embraced technology to catalyse the nation’s development.
  • “So, for example, they are able to offer a whole range of public services online. It’s very efficient and easy to pay taxes; you can get a prescription online; your social services… all of those are online (and generally) doing business is online; and they are quick… five minutes to pay taxes,” he pointed out.
  • The Prime Minister said that by levering technology, Estonia has become attractive to investors, and this is what Jamaica is trying to achieve.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, believes Jamaica can replicate the success recorded by Estonia, which has embraced technology to catalyse the nation’s development.

He noted that the country has integrated technology into its governance structure, including the provision of services.

“So, for example, they are able to offer a whole range of public services online. It’s very efficient and easy to pay taxes; you can get a prescription online; your social services… all of those are online (and generally) doing business is online; and they are quick… five minutes to pay taxes,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister said that by levering technology, Estonia has become attractive to investors, and this is what Jamaica is trying to achieve.

“Why would somebody go and locate in Estonia, which is in the far eastern part of Europe? They go there because their system is efficient, it’s fair, it’s transparent, it’s modern and it’s effective. If we can have that being the description of Jamaica… then people will come from all over the world to do business here, because we are fair, we are efficient, we are transparent and we are an effective State,” he argued.

He was speaking at a press conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (February 27), which followed the 7th Annual Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Governors’ Meeting.

The Prime Minister noted Estonia’s introduction of systems facilitating transparency, which has resulted in the European nation being ranked as one of the least corrupt countries globally.

“Once you have a digital system that is well-managed and well-regulated then you have a greater probability of transparency in transactions, in benefits (and) generally. When you have systems that are not transparent, then only those who have access get the benefits. Once the system is transparent, then you have to have fair basis on which to distribute,” he argued.

Mr. Holness and former Estonian President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, participated in a panel discussion during the IDB conference, which focused on how best the Caribbean can tap into technology and apply innovative methods to solve problems, improve productivity, generate employment and advance development.

The Prime Minister said based on Mr. Ilves’ presentation, “what is clear… is that integrating technology into their governance (structure) was a critical ingredient of their transformation, and that’s very important.

He noted that “the reason why we tend to hold up Estonia as an example is that it is a similar size country as Jamaica, with similar issues” and by virtue of integrating technology into its governance “it has been able to catalyse its transformation and development, and Jamaica can do similarly”.

“I think that Jamaicans have to come to this point of understanding that one of the reasons that we want to move to a digital system is that we can eliminate (if not) significantly reduce corruption.

Once there is transparency, then it means that the allocative decisions of Government will become fairer,” Mr. Holness said.

The IDB conference, which was held under the theme ‘Jump Caribbean’, focused on how best the region can strategically embrace the reality of the digital revolution.