Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2022. 10:28 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: It is the youngest, but could become one of the most important Government portfolios.
We are referring to e-governance, which was originated with Kevin Bernard and currently rests with Michel Chebat, who indicated, “Belize’s first National Digital Agenda 2020-2025 is the pathway that will guide our country’s transformation into a digital nation, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives and quality of service to our citizens.”
The pivot to rethinking “how we operate, how we govern and how we provide services to citizens,” Chebat said, has been made necessary by natural disasters and the pandemic as well as the arrival of faster, cheaper solutions via the Internet.
During his contribution in the recent Budget Debate, Chebat developed the theme of multiple projects supported by the Ministry in the past year and since the creation of the E-Governance and Digitization Unit: These include digitization service for export and import licenses issued by the Supplies Control Unit; vehicle and driver’s license processing; permits for the import and export of scrap metal, used tires, acid batteries, as well as the passage of new legislation.
In the forthcoming year, said Chebat, new projects will include the “National Identification Project; the Digital Skills Program for Public Service officers; the Digital Inclusion Program for citizens; one-stop shop for Government services…we will be looking at a data policy framework [and] electronic payment solutions, such as the piloting of mobile wallets for online payment of Government services,” and further legislative reform. There will also be steps to much needed digitization of the Vital Statistics Unit and Lands Department.
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