JIS News

Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, has said that it is through active and confident participation in the digital economy, that the country will be best integrated into the global environment.
“Jamaica will be able to attract and retain new investments, businesses in general will become more competitive, the consumer will benefit from increased choices and better prices and ultimately economic growth and development will result,” Mr. Paulwell said.
He was addressing the opening of the fourth annual Central Information Technology Office (CITO) Regional Summit, which is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel from May 9 to 11, under the theme: ‘E-Trade Limitless Growth Opportunities – Are you prepared?’. According to the Technology Minister, the liberalization of the local telecommunications sector had necessitated the need for a new Telecommunications Policy and Act for Jamaica, and this new policy framework must “reflect our vision to establish a knowledge-based and educated society, thereby increasing Jamaica’s global competitiveness and productivity”. The policy, he said, should foster innovation and competition so that consumers can benefit from technological innovation and high quality services at the most reasonable and affordable prices.
“It must also emphasize neutrality of technology as it seeks to ensure regulatory even-handedness for relatively homogenous products, which are provided within a single market, but which use alternative technologies for service delivery. This will ensure that no particular technological solution is artificially stimulated or penalized through inconsistent regulations,” Mr. Paulwell stated.
He further informed that a major focus of the new policy is to promote and deepen competition in relation to the various services offered in the sector and enable participation by additional suppliers and providers, thus providing a wider range of products and services. “This will result in several benefits, including a reduction in telecommunications costs to consumers,” he asserted.
The Minister said that the vision for improved and increased access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), was embodied in the new five-year National Information and Communications Technology (NICT) Strategy 2007-2012. “This vision is that Jamaica will become an inclusive, development-oriented, knowledge-based society that achieves economic and social growth through the integration of ICTs into all aspects of the nation’s life. The aim is to magnify Jamaica’s position as a leader in the delivery of ICT-enhanced services and a centre for new investment opportunities,” he told the audience. Mr. Paulwell also indicated that a Cyber Crimes Act, would be promulgated this year.
He assured that the government was mindful of the dynamic nature of the sector and that it must be continually examined. He said the legislative framework must be modified, and that the support agencies play an increasingly faciliatory role in order to be responsive rather than obstructive in the development process. He commended CITO for organizing the event, stating that he was particularly proud of the role that the organization had played in national development.
The annual summit seeks to forge greater linkages between top executives, senior and middle managers, and technical persons on the issue of ICTs. This year’s forum will discuss and examine the opportunities for organizations to reduce costs and increase profits, by leveraging new ways of doing business, that have emerged with the implementation of new policies, such as the Electronic Transactions Act.
The summit will also review the enabling environment for the development of successful e-trade opportunities, the requirements for operational readiness for e-trade ventures, and key opportunities for business success and niche market development.

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