Digital Government to Ease Business Operations

“A digital government will instantly address ‘ease of business’ which is currently the main pain point for all Small Medium Enterprises.”

This was stated by the Minister for Information and Communication Technology in his official speech during the opening of the Certified Practising Accountants Annual NGI Conference in Kokopo in the East New Britain Province on Thursday the 24th of June 2021. The Ministry of ICT also projects that the process of digitizing government presents in itself countless opportunities for the ICT Industry.

“We anticipate growth in specific spaces such as ICT Auditing, data governance, full stack development, cyber security and network infrastructure etc.” Minister Masiu also said, economic benefits of the Ministry’s interventions are massive, and the Ministry of ICT is working on modelling to quantify its direct and indirect impact.

He said at this time, the Ministry’s goal is simple and that is striving to build a safe and secure enabling cyber environment and bring our citizens to the table to participate. He added that it is now up to all the players across all industries to harness these opportunities. “Technology is continuing to change the way we do business and the use of technology is considered strategic such that it is not only improving business processes but can also give a business its competitive advantage.”

“I am pleased to say that, as a result, the Department of Information and Communication Technology is being restructured to be the key facilitator for digital transformation”, said the Minister. He explained that under the restructure, a new Digital Government and Information Delivery Wing has been established and the Department is now set to administer functions relating to Cyber Safety, Cyber Security, and Cloud Services for Government.

He said the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology is supporting the digital revolution through the National ICT Roadmap considers the rapidly evolving ICT sector and the digital transformational activities in PNG. The National ICT Roadmap attempts to map out areas where relevant policies and laws would be developed to put PNG on par with the emerging technologies, trends and practices globally. Minister Masiu believed in the PNG Digital Transformation Policy the game-changing policy which was endorsed and now gives a clear direction for public sector as a whole to transform to a space where services can be delivered online in a simple, fast, and efficient manner.”

The Ministry of ICT also completed drafting the proposed Digital Government Bill seeks to anchor enforcement mechanisms for the Digital Transformation Policy, proposes the establishment of standards and compliance measures for government digital services including making illegal the use of email domain names other than ‘.’ like Gmail and Ymail for official government correspondence and ensuring that all government websites and government social media pages disseminating official government information, comply with government standards to maintain integrity of government information.

The Bill also introduces an open data framework for business houses and SMEs to have better access to relevant public data deemed critical for delivery of their product and services and also introduces provisions to set a time frame for public bodies to transit from paper based to online based services; Minister Masiu said the use of digital technology comes with cybersecurity concerns and he is pushing for PNG to build its cybersecurity capabilities.

He said the Digital Government Bill will establish the National Cyber Security Centre as a semi-autonomous entity under the Department of ICT and we are looking forward to introducing the Digital Government Bill on the floor of Parliament at earliest August. “Apart from recent interventions of the Digital Transformation Policy 2020 and the Digital Government Bill 2021, the Ministry still maintains it broader goals to address accessibility, affordability, and reliability.

The Government through NICTA has approved for a third mobile telecommunication operator to enter PNG market and subject to meeting all compliance requirements, Digitec Communications is expected to roll out broadband services before end of this year. With effective competition over one-year period, mobile subscribers could potentially jump to 4 million and retail internet plans will drop a further 80 percent.

The Ministry takes the position that by making our government a ‘digital government’, we will also make our citizens as ‘digital citizens’. These digital citizens become your online clients. This is where the digital revolution takes place. Minister Masiu wished them a fruitful discussion and hope they reach some understanding and resolution that will set a path towards embracing digital technologies to be on par with rest of the world.