The concept of e-anything – the usage of technology to improve service to the consumer – may not go over well in a country that is accustomed to the old-fashioned way. But such an innovation may be here to stay, and the Government is leading the way. The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities is hosting a consultation on policies to develop hosted the seminar yesterday, where we heard more from its CEO, Dr. Colin Young.
Dr. Colin Young– et al of the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology
“The project we are launching today has two components: one of them, the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology is responsible which is the national ICT innovation policy and strategy. The second component-the e-governance is under the Ministry of Finance and CITO . However, what we are saying is that using the technology that exists today, it can improve the way we do business, improve our customer service and it allows us to be more efficient. I think that the e-government policy strategy and plan is going to layout precisely how we do this. The directorate of government is serious that if you want to transfrorm the way we do business, this is the only way through in terms of using the tools that the I.C.T. allows us to use to do business”.
Facilitator Dr. Annalee Babb, who owns her own consulting firm, says that for ordinary Belizeans, that means less hassle.
Dr. Annalee Babb, Facilitator
“Do you like standing in lines? Do o you like trying to find information and don’t know where it is and where to find it? Call five-six-seven offices and they send you somewhere else? What we are looking at doing is making the access to information easier. So. you need to do that…make it for citizens to do business. I hate standing in lines; I hate going to government offices and them not being able to answer the questions I have. So, it’s about your whole information platform finding ways to tweak it in a sense, and work with it and build databases that allow people access to information and data and to make life easier. If they don’t want to come into an office, maybe they can find the information online. So, these things are very important. At certain levels, the offering of e-government services actually begin to unleash some other kinds of inovations in an economy-in a society. That is what we are looking to do when we read it with the National ICT Innovation Strategy and Policy”.
Dr. Babb envisions the regular smart phone becoming the standard tool for communication with the government. But how you do avoid political interference and mischief? That, says Dr. Babb, involves a culture shift – a personal development on the part of the population.