The reported closure of the revenue-collecting side of the District “A” Magistrates’ Court on Thursday is an indication that Government needs to “get its act together” with respect to moving to an online payment system across its operations.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn echoed this point on Friday as he took part in the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI) BimTech seminar at the Sweetfield Manor, Brittons Ridge, St Michael.
He was reacting to a report which said that due to the absence of the cashier on Wednesday and no one to fill the post that day, the area had to be closed off.
Taking part in a panel discussion at the forum on Friday, Straughn said it was “a demonstration” that Government needed to modernize its operations and incorporate greater use of technology.
“We need to be able to function with respect to how we go about our day-to-day business with a measure of reliability,” said Straughn.
“In the context of this discussion, it demonstrates why Government needs to get its act together,” he told the digital technology forum, which was, among other things, designed to promote ideas and highlight the benefits of using ICT as an enabler to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve decision-making.
Straughn told the gathering of young entrepreneurs that it was Government’s intention to make it easier for the private sector and individuals to conduct business with its various departments and agencies.
“The fact that court wasn’t able to collect revenue yesterday, even though it is a relatively small part of our total revenue, the fact is that we intend to make it easier for the Government to conduct its business, and facilitate the citizens to interact with Government in a easier way. We see this as a critical pathway in leading the charge with respect to how we change the culture of a lot of these things,” he explained.
He said while it was Government’s intention to “go as far as we can go, as quickly as we can go”, Government remained mindful that there were still some people who prefer to stand in a line to carry out some transactions.
“As we are going through this process with respect to the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation, what we we intend to do is modernize – to redeploy the human resources we have within Government away from collecting money and administration and focus on the delivery of wherever the public service or public goods happen to be, so we can get the best value for money,” he explained.
Pointing out that the plan was for Government to use less cash and cheques within the next two years, Straughn said this would definitely improve the way business is done in the island and help to breathe new life into the struggling economy.