#Kingston, June 23, 2018 – Jamaica – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government has taken steps to transform Jamaica into a truly digital economy. He noted that the measures include the passage of legislation such as the National Identification System (NIDS) Bill. NIDS is intended to provide a comprehensive and secure structure to enable capture and storage of identity information for all Jamaicans. Each citizen will be provided with a randomized nine-digit National Identification Number (NIN), which they will have for life.
“That is a good example of digital leadership. The Government has to ensure that every citizen can (operate) in a digital society, and the transaction has to be secure. We have to ensure security and integrity. We have to ensure transparency, and to do that you have to ensure identity,” Mr. Holness said.
He was speaking at the ninth annual Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) Roundtable Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Breakfast Forum held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge at the University of the West Indies on June 21. It was held under the theme ‘Strategic Digital Leadership’.
Mr. Holness said a portion of the $64-million loan obtained from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to implement the NIDS will be used to build out a platform for all data to be digitized.
“Only a very small portion is for the NIDS. The larger portion of the loan is to establish the digital platform to put in place the servers, the networks, the cloud services to enable us to place all that data we are converting digitally to put at the disposal of Government and the public,” he informed.
He noted that the Government is formulating a policy to categorise, protect and digitise existing records on citizens in Jamaica. These include records at the national archives and health and education information.
The Prime Minister said the process is being undertaken by a digitisation corps under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme. He further indicated that Cabinet Ministers are to be provided with a secure electronic device complete with the requisite network and software to facilitate the delivery and receipt of Cabinet papers.
The Prime Minister said a directive has been issued to the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology in furtherance of this effort.
Currently, Cabinet papers are delivered in a very laborious and time-consuming manner. It requires transport in a red box to each Cabinet Minister’s office, where an individual opens the box, organises them into a file and assigns the Minister’s official number to the papers. Held in collaboration with the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), the MSBM roundtable explored the pivotal role of digital transformation and offered insights on leveraging digital technologies.
The event saw presentations about the state of digital play in the Caribbean based on recent research conducted by two university lecturers. They are Visiting Professor of Management Information Systems, Collat School of Business at the University of Alabama in the United States, Professor Evan Duggan; and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Information Technology-enabled Innovation at MSBM, Dr. Maurice McNaughton.