Chairman of the Management Board of the e-Governance Academy (eGA) of Estonia, Dr. Arvo Ott, accompanied by Marit Lani and Tõnis Mäe, presented a draft report on the project, Digital Governance Roadmap for the Government of Guyana, during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
According to a release from the Ministry of the Presidency, the draft roadmap sets out an implementation plan that will see the complete setting up of digital governance by 2030.
During an interview with the Ministry of the Presidency’s Public Information and Press Services Unit, Chairman of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi said that the roadmap was drafted after an evaluation of Guyana’s e-governance status and is meant as a guideline to shift Guyana into a more modern state.
“There are several e-government initiatives undertaken by Government and we wanted to review that against a baseline. We chose the country of Estonia, which has had a very successful e-government implementation. We wanted to ensure that we were on the right track and using the e-Governance Academy of Estonia to review our work… as a starting point, we designed a roadmap that will clearly show what we need to have in place in order to get where we want to go,” Levi said.
The Chairman added that the Estonian delegation underlined four key areas of development that will ensure Guyanese benefit fully from e-governance: the melding of the population registry into the e-government framework, the creation of unique digital identities for every citizen in Guyana, the organising of a secure and seamless digital exchange to facilitate the sharing of information between Government agencies, and the listing of all available Government services that need to be connected to the secure Government information exchange.
Levi said that addressing these gaps in Guyana’s e-governance development will boost efficiency; whereby a citizen needs only share their information with a government agency one time.
“This is what we call the ‘once only’ principle. A citizen is already known to Government and you should not be asked by different Government agencies for the same information every time you interact with them… The system will be able to verify that you are who you claim to be with the Government agency that is offering you service seamlessly [and] securely,” Levi explained.
The NDMA chairman said Guyanese will benefit from online Government services as soon as next year.
“I believe citizens would be very satisfied if they can have all of their interactions with Government done online so we are aiming at this point in time, to have over 200 Government services be available to the citizens online by the end of 2019… You go online and you have this interaction, you complete your application and you send it into Government agencies from the comfort of your own home, from your own smartphone, and, if you do not have one, from the Government-initiated community ICT hub in your community,” the Chairman said, according to the press release.
Levi encouraged Guyanese to embrace the coming technological advancements.
“[Citizens] may be digitally disadvantaged because they cannot and do not have a physical device or the means to connect that device to the internet… We are saying that at the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, that all citizens must have the ability to access information and the internet whenever they need. We see this almost as a human right, the right of all Guyanese to access digital services and the internet when needed. I say to those digitally disadvantaged citizens that Government is doing its part by providing these services in your community… Take advantage of these opportunities because they can have profound effects on [your] lives and livelihood… your lives can be better and certainly your livelihood can be improved when you take advantage of modern technologies,” he said.
Some of the planned interventions include eCabinet, ePolice, eHealth, eSchool, and eResidency.