By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be hosting a kick-off workshop for the government’s new digitisation project unit next month.
Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said the workshop will be held November 11-15. The project aims to connect various government offices and agencies digitally, so that a customer does not have to take the same paperwork to each place once the documents are uploaded into the government’s database.
He said: “The digitization project has commenced, for example the pilot work has already commenced on putting the pilot together. The pilot is the initial project which will digitally connect the Passport Office, Road Traffic Department, National Insurance and the Registrar General’s Office.
“It will connect it by an interoperable platform which means all of those agencies will be able to digitally exchange the information. Instead of the public having to go in and supply each agency with the information, it will really save time and make it far more convenient for the customer.”
The minister added: “That pilot is ongoing now and that platform is being built now. It’s actually being based on the Estonia digitisation model, but it is being refined to fit the Bahamian context. There will be a form of digitise identification and I think that identification will be based on the National Insurance infrastructure which is already there. That is one of the portfolios (under) the project unit which is to put in place the digital identification.”
Mr Thompson said the unit spearheading the project is made up of talented and qualified persons who have IT and project management experience.
“There will be a project manager and a lawyer. Because a number of our laws will have to be modified to fit the change in this digital process,” he said.
“There is an accountant who has to manage the expenditure, there is a procurement specialist who again has to manage procurement issues and there is also an IT specialist, who will be responsible for building the infrastructure. The real project is very wide and it’s going to be done over a number of years. The pilot really is just one aspect of the whole digitalisation plan. The plan also includes how we look at building IT as an industry in the Bahamas.”
Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said his government was designing a pilot programme to digitally connect government agencies such as the Passport Office and Road Traffic Department - a process that would allow Bahamians to fully apply online for these services without physically providing documents.
Dr Minnis made those remarks while speaking at the signing ceremony for two Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loans — the “Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness” and “The Contingent Loan for Natural Disasters”.