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$3.1B for ICT; Information Technology Center to be established

Finance Minister Winston Jordan has revealed that the government has plans to increase its investments in the Information Technology Sector with over $3B budgeted for works in the sector.

Jordan made the announcement during the presentation of Budget 2016, under the theme Stimulating Growth, Restoring Confidence: The Good Life Beckons.

He said that in providing a better life for all Guyanese, the Government is dedicated to investing in ICT infrastructure and related services, to ensure knowledge-driven government and industries.

“Last year, we invested $2.5 billion in the ICT sector.  This year, we propose investing, through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), about $3.1 billion for the ICT Access and E-Services for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities Project,” said Jordan.

He noted that the project will provide infrastructure, equipment, hardware and software, so as to enable access to quality ICT, training and e-services, including distance learning, with particular focus on our vulnerable groups.

It will also ensure the development of a digital knowledge-based society, enhance national efficiency and competitiveness, and promote sustainable growth and development. 

“This year, the Government has allocated an initial $25 million for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT). The Centre forms the basis for the requisite education of ICT professionals and knowledge workers in the public sector and partner agencies,” Jordan announced.

He pointed out that the e-Government initiative will improve the efficiency and transparency of governance in Guyana, by using ICT to facilitate better communication and data sharing among agencies, and to achieve seamless service delivery to all stakeholders for any service across government agencies. 

“In 2016, provision has been made for the upgrade of the software used by government agencies; modernizing and digitizing the operations of the companies, land and civil registries. Also, the Integrated Crime Information System (ICIS) will be expanded to divisions and subdivisions of the Guyana Police Force. These are all necessary foundation elements in the drive to deliver on the commitment of a single window to “One Government” by 2020.”

He also stated that the Government will conclude negotiations with ATN and GT&T, with a view of bringing to an end GT&T's claim to a monopoly over international voice and data transmissions and domestic wireline service.

Draft legislation have already been developed that will inform and govern a liberalized telecommunications regime and the Government is committed to having these Bills tabled and passed this year, he said.