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The e-Government program is expected to promote more efficiency in government departments as many services that could only be accessed by visiting government agencies will now be available on the Internet.

While this will reduce the size of lines in various government agencies, Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said instead of reducing the number of workers needed, he envisions the program leading to more job opportunities for Bahamians.

"Downsizing is not an issue," Laing noted.

He explained however that it may create a need for employees to receive training in other areas.

"You will have to have additional expertise in information/communication technology and people who now do mundane, manual paper driven tasks will then have to be retrained to do tasks that relate their processing of these online applications or on the other hand will be doing other things in the government that helps us be more productive," Laing said.

In addition to creating potential jobs in the public sector, Laing noted that employment opportunities will also extend to the private sector.

"There are going to be opportunities in the private sector for people to service government in terms of digitizing documents," he provided.

Laing added that he expects e-Government to have a substantial impact on the Bahamian economy as it makes conducting business substantially easier for Bahamians and potential investors.

He noted that Singapore, a small island nation has benefited tremendously from it's e-Government program and is now ranked as the best place to conduct business in the world.

The country, he said has attracted thousands of multinational corporations to its borders because of its use of technology to deliver service in both the public and private sectors.

"It is a country that has grown enormously in terms of wealth and prosperity for its people and employment because of this use of technology to make a country that like The Bahamas has no natural resources and had only a few people and is a kind of island territory - one of the most progressive and advanced economies in the developing world," Laing provided.

The e-Government program will be launched in July 2011 with seven services including payment of fines, renewal of a driver's licence, the payment of business licence fees, application for new business licences, vendor inquiries (payments, invoices and purchase orders) payment of real property tax, and service-wide customer service.

Other services are expected to be added over time.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Cleopatra Murphy

Quelle/Source: The Freeport News, 06.12.2010

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