MOST of the work to ready TT for digitisation has long been done, said Congress of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, flatly unimpressed with the Government’s plans for this to uplift the public and private sectors.
The former public administration minister said the former People’s Partnership administration has undertaken a full Public Service Modernisation Programme called the Gold to Diamond Project,
“A lot of the digitisation projects which the Government is now talking about has already been paid for and done, paid for by a loan through the IDB (Inter American Development Bank) which we are probably paying back right now.
“The e-tax had filing started in 2015. We started the whole implementation of the online payment system with FCB. We had implemented the regulations and taken them to Parliament and they were approved.
“So what is keeping them back? Five, six years after they still can’t get it up and running. I am concerned about this constant thing of stopping and starting back projects. It is taxpayers money.”
While the Government speaks of youngsters into digital technology, she recalled once having a Diamond Buzz project to get young people involved in entrepreneurship to develop apps, such as to help modernise the public service.
Seepersad-Bachan said a pre-requisite for digitisation was for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to certify a country as having open government and open data.
“We got kicked out the other day from being open government. We had got open government compliance in 2014, as one of the first Caricom countries. I am amazed to see this Government allowed us to be kicked out of the open government system. It is a partnership of countries across the globe to meeting the standards of being open.”
Seepersad-Bachan called for urgent legislation on online payments. “My concern is over the electronic transfer of funds. Regulations are required for that, to be able to allow for online payments.”