Government is making tremendous progress in its public sector modernisation and digitisation efforts with millions of records already digitised and several measures producing tangible results, Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology (MIST) Davidson Ishmael has reported.
Additionally, Ishmael says the rollout for the highly-anticipated new Trident ID card will take place within a matter of weeks.
He gave the update on Thursday, as he addressed the 48th annual general meeting of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Barbados (ICAB).
Stating that the public sector modernisation programme has been the beneficiary of significant support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ishmael said the public service efforts would see an investment in the amount of US$40 million.
“It has a number of transformative components including the implementation of an e-services platform, the implementation of an electronic document and records management system and the digitisation of public service records,” said Ishmael.
“Ultimately, the public sector modernisation programme is a primary vehicle for our government to facilitate its digital transformation mandate and to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector,” he said.
He said his ministry was aiming to create an environment that “harnesses innovation, information and communication technologies to generate employment, increases national health and improves the quality of life for all Barbadians”.
“Taking a moment to reflect on the performance of my ministry to date, colleagues will be pleased to know that we have already made tremendous progress relative to the digitisation of government records,” he said.
Providing an update Ishmael reported that the digitisation centre was now up and running in two shifts.
He said up to June 1, 2022, a total of 18,455 files, comprising 2,768,250 records have been digitised from 14 ministries, Government departments and agencies. He said another roughly two million files from several ministries were in the process of being digitised.
Ishmael also noted that since the launch of the 2019 online solution to process police certificates of character, 54,350 certificates have been issued, with wait time reduced from weeks to between 24 and 48 hours.
He also noted that the EZPay+ payment platform had facilitated transactions valuing just under $300 million to date and noted that the emergency pass system that facilitated movement of essential workers during the height of the pandemic was available to be used in the future if needed.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the progress being made to transform Bridgetown into a smart city, as he pointed out that the first phase, which includes the rollout of free Wi-Fi connection was nearing completion, and the second phase was to come on stream shortly.
This will include the implementation of smart parking, environmental monitoring, traffic management, the use of mobile apps for self guided tours of places of interest in and around the capital.
He also reported continued progress with the rolling out of the national Trident ID card and mobile Trident e-ID app, saying that within a matter of weeks residents can expect to be informed of the re-registration process for the new ID.
“We are working assiduously to get that process streamlined and we are expecting that within the next few days more information will be presented to the public that would allow you to know how you will go about being re-registered for your new ID card,” he said, noting that the launch of the Trident e-ID app will occur within four to six weeks of the first physical Trident ID card being issued.
In a further update, Minister Ishmael said the export-oriented industrial policy to reverse the declining trend in the number of certified exporters over the past few years was “well advanced” in its development.
“The primary goal of this policy would be to address the rapid decline in a number of firms and entrepreneurs, and equally important, in export activities,” he said.
“What I have described are not just projects, but we are talking about major paradigm shifts for the public service itself, as well as the average citizens. These shifts from the former ways of conducting business have required or are currently requiring and will continue to require adaptation on the part of all of us as stakeholders and beneficiaries,” he said.