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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley believes the new Ministry of Digital Transformation and a drive towards technology will create new opportunities for businesses. He spoke about the importance of using technology to transform the public service and the economy in an interview last Thursday on Brighter Morning with Bhoe Live, hosted by Dr Bhoe Tewarie on MultiCultural Television (MCTV) and U97.5FM.

Days earlier, Dr Rowley had announced the creation of a dedicated Ministry of Digital Transformation—a portfolio previously part of a ministry that also included Public Administration—and put Hassel Bacchus at the helm.

However, the need for digital transformation has been a talking point for some time. At a press conference in July 2020, the Prime Minister had forecast that T&T would be a digital nation by 2022.

That objective has become more urgent with the pandemic, as working from home has underscored the need for greater technology.

In the interview with Tewarie, the Prime Minister said the new Ministry of Digital Transformation was not set up “by vapse,” but with the understanding that things have to be done differently.

“Nine months later, or almost a year later, we now have a full-fledged Ministry of Digitalisation. That is saying to the country that we have to digitalise our operations, the public service, and the private sector. The very nature of that has changed.

“If things go the way we are planning it, opportunities are arising that were not there before. Opportunities to restart businesses that were hampered or to have new businesses established as if the niche is there we expect the entrepreneurial drive to fill those niches.”

Dr Rowley said digitalisation will also transform the lives of ordinary people.

“Once we start to use digital technology in our businesses and daily lives, this country will change in a fundamental way. It opens serious doors for young people who are the drivers of this new era. It also calls for older businesses to do business differently. We are coming back better,” he said.

Dr Rowley added that Digital Transformation Ministry will drive other ministries, but a new culture must be created because in the same way there is vaccine hesitancy there will be digitisation hesitancy. To get around this, employees in the public and private sectors must be trained to use the new technology, he said.

What Dr Rowley said mirrored the views of other experts.

Former public administration minister Dr Rudrawatee Nan Gosine-Ramgoolam, who now lectures at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, said technology can transform the public service and make it more efficient.

Instead of being a burden to the Treasury, public servants working from home during the lockdown can be looked at as a new stage in productivity and efficiency for the country, she said.

“Public sector worker needs to be trained to work with the technology at home. Once it is done properly it will be an asset to the Government, country, and the employee,” Gosine-Ramgoolam said.

COVID-19 has simply fast-forwarded the process of working and doing business online as Government had been talking about iGovTT for many years, she pointed out. The pandemic was a “super jolt” to the world of work and now the country and the world have been forced to adopt digitisation, which means converting from analog to digital.

Gosine-Ramgoolam said employers now have to develop work practices where employees can work from home during this pandemic or any others in the future. She believes more than 90 per cent of the public’s administrative work can be done online.

“My opinion is that the employer can get more productivity from home. Once the system is set up properly, they will know if the manager has left their computer for 15 minutes. So managers can manage more effectively with technology,” she explained.

The next step is for the Government to train public sector workers to work from home so that an employee “does not need to buy new bags, work clothes, shoes, and other accessories, neither do they have to spend hours in traffic every day.”

Gosine-Ramgoolam believes the new normal will be a hybrid system of working from home and at workplaces.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Raphael John-Lall

Quelle/Source: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 17.07.2021

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