THE government has jumped on the digital revolution bandwagon yesterday when it signed an agreement with a Chinese firm to provide electronic government services.
At the penning instruments for a service agreement with representatives of Huawei Technologies Ltd at the Government House in Port Moresby, Communication and Information Minister Patrick Tammur said the e-government initiative would effectively create an alternative new channel for citizens and businesses to engage with government administrations transparently “at a faster pace, more conveniently and at a lower cost”.
Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane signed the integrated government information system (IGIS) service agreement on behalf of the state while senior vice-president Qu Wenchu signed for Huawei Technologies Ltd.
Services to be covered under the agreement included work permits, e-learning, e-health, online visa processing, e-passport, e-tax and e-commerce among others.
The Department of Information and Communication will be the implementing agency.
Tammur said there was still work to be done to complete the initiative, such as “negotiating the terms and conditions of the US$53 million loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of China”.
“NEC has approved for a state team to negotiate the terms and conditions of the loan, beginning 60 days from the date of the signing (yesterday),” he added.
The team would include officers from treasury, planning and monitoring, communication and information, Telikom PNG and the state solicitor’s office.
Tammur said the government’s key focus had been on physical infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.
“The emergence of e-government initiative is based largely on the key strategy of improving service delivery for better quality of life and to create new opportunities outside the spectrum of a traditional development process.”
IGIS will link all government agencies to a central database.(8/9/10)