Barbados has made progress towards digitizing its economy.
So says Director of Data Processing in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Rodney Taylor, who has pointed to the island’s development of its telecom sector and fibre network as critical advancements.
He made the comments while speaking on the October edition of the Caribbean Economic Forum entitled How to Digitise an Economy last night.
“Barbados has excellent fibre and there is really good connectivity in Barbados and we have good mobile phone penetration.
“The infrastructure is critical at a foundational level for the transformation of an economy and Barbados because of our small size and because of our open and competitive telecom sector, we have a good regulatory environment, we have good fibre, good mobile connectivity,” Taylor said.
He revealed that Barbadians had also called for more online services to be provided.
Taylor said the COVID-19 pandemic had hastened Government’s move in that direction.
“Barbadians have responded very well. They have been demanding these services. If you look for example at the Police Certificate of Character, that’s a service that before took weeks just to even get the appointment to apply for it and now you can do it from the comfort of your home, any time of day, any time of night, and that’s a 24-hour turnaround. We talk about the renewal of driver’s licences, that’s also a service that is another 24-hour turnaround,” Taylor said.
“COVID has driven the uptake of these services because offices are closed or people want to social distance, or physical distance and so we have seen a tremendous uptake of our online service for payments such as land tax and so on and there has been a tremendous response.
“Within the first week of launching the renewal of the driver’s licence we had about 500 persons applying and we partnered with the Barbados Postal Service so that you can not only apply for it but if you chose to you can have that renewed driver’s licence delivered to your home or office. It is clear that persons are demanding these services and in particular because of COVID and the fact that it is a much bigger hassle to actually go and stand in line or wait outside to enter a Government office,” he added.
Taylor said there was a very strategic focus for the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology.
He said now that the ministry provided the institutional framework, Government was now looking at the regulatory and policy framework needed to reform the ICT sector in Barbados and drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the technology sector. ([email protected])