Minister Vaz says New ICT Policy Coming Soon


Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Daryl Vaz, says that a new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy will be tabled in Parliament, soon.
Mr. Vaz said that the policy will speak to a regulatory framework that is appropriate for a fully liberalised environment, and should bolster investor confidence and maintain Jamaica’s position as a communications leader in the region.
“The draft policy has already been the subject of extensive consultations and, recognising the importance of this policy to national development, I have invited the (Opposition) Members from East Kingston and Port Royal (Phillip Paulwell) and South East St. Ann (Lisa Hanna) to participate in the final review of the document,” he said.
Mr. Vaz was speaking in the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (July 22) at Gordon House.
Turning to the Government of Jamaica (GoJ)/ Inter American Development Bank (IDB) Information and Communications Technology Project, he announced that it has been extended by one year to June, 2010, to facilitate completion of the online tax payment system component.
He said that, so far, the project has upgraded the infrastructure of Fiscal Services Limited (FSL), at a cost of more than US$4 million. The project also established a tax portal and is seeing a steady increase in the use of this facility.
“In fact, just under $1 billion was collected during the last fiscal year, representing an increase of nearly 30 per cent over the previous year. This particular project has offered citizens an alternative method of paying property taxes and traffic fines,” Mr. Vaz stated.
FSL is a diversified Government-owned information service company, providing a full range of computer services and technical support to the Government. It is the major link in the information flow between the Revenue Departments. It is now re-engineering the tax processes to finalise an e-filing application component that will allow online filing of tax returns.
Under this programme, the online submission of General Consumption Tax(GCT)/ Special Consumption Tax(SCT) returns became possible last year October. PAYE, NIS, HEART and Education Tax, as well as, Corporate and Personal Income Taxes, will be added during the fiscal year 2009-2010.
Persons wishing to make pay their taxes online can do so at www.jamaicatax-online.gov.jm.

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