Creating a Digital Society

DIGITAL NATION TRANSFORMATION

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, internet access and data sharing for business, administrative and social purposes are critical to removing the barriers of time and distance to facilitate transactions. Covid-19 has highlighted the fact that lack of access to ICT services prevents vulnerable groups from accessing online services or even performing basic activities in the new normal of social distancing.

Easy internet access, fast connectivity, an enabling digital environment, and optimal data storage are thus the foundation to the creation of a fully digital Trinidad and Tobago.

Technology, digitization of public and private services and a cashless economy will also facilitate the growth and diversification of the economy.

Data on Digital Commerce and Mobile Device Usage

This figure provides data on digital commerce and mobile device usage in Trinidad and Tobago.

To provide the required technological environment, the PNM will develop and improve Broadband and Cloud Infrastructure and create a National Digital Database as illustrated below:

Broadband and Cloud Infrastructure

The PNM will establish a MINISTRY OF TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL RECORDS to create a Digital Economy based on 3 main principles:

Access – ensuring high-speed broadband internet access accompanied by the requisite ICT infrastructure is available for all citizens, especially schools.

Data – creating an electronic population register of every citizen and resident, removing the need for citizens to submit data separately to each agency

Trust – implementing legislation to ensure citizens trust the system and agencies are transparent, secure, safe, and accountable in their use of the data

The PNM will create a Digital Public Service through an e-Governance Ecosystem

As far as possible, all Government services will be delivered online. Business processes will be reengineered, and the mindset of public officers transformed to radically improve the public customer experience. This e-Governance ecosystem is depicted below:

E-GOVERNANCE ECOSYSTEM

E-Governance Ecosystem

E-GOVERNANCE ECOSYSTEM: ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

To enhance Trinidad and Tobago’s business competitiveness, the national Single Electronic Window (SEW) programme—TTBizLink will improve Trinidad and Tobago’s trade performance and competitiveness, proving a secure user-friendly, 24-hour, online IT platform connecting trade and business-related services from across Agencies and Ministries. The platform eliminates lines for collection and completion of manual forms and reduces overall processing time.

The DevelopTT Automated Construction System will address deficiencies of the current manual construction permitting process through an online user-friendly system. This G2C/G2B platform reduce the bottlenecks within the construction approval process, reduce the time taken to receive planning and building permits and improve data and record management.

DIGITAL CULTURAL SHIFT AND THE NEW DIGITAL LANDSCAPE

Public engagement is essential for digital transformation efforts. To achieve the desired outcome, the PNM Government will engage community influencers, especially our tech-savvy youth, appoint digital community liaisons, and create digital community portals.

ABILITY TO WORK, STUDY AND ABSTRACT BUSINESS REMOTELY

The PNM will utilise ICT infrastructure to improve service delivery, improve accessibility and citizen participation to facilitate the ease of doing business. Implementation of systems that support online learning, remote work and e- commerce will be accelerated.

REDUCED TRAFFIC – BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE & HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

Technology convergence will revolutionize transportation, dramatically improving safety and mobility while reducing traffic congestion. The PNM will support and facilitate remote working and work from home in both the public and private sector. The reduced burden on the working population will have a positive influence on community and family life.

EASE OF DIGITAL COMMERCE

One of the benefits of an integrated digital infrastructure is the ability to deploy financial solutions that will facilitate cashless transactions for business and social support services and create opportunities for the emergence and inclusion of entrepreneurs.

To achieve this, the PNM will publish the necessary e-Money Order and e-Money Policy and will execute the following strategies:

POLICY AND LEGISLATION

  • Update and proclaim the Data Protection Act
  • Update and proclaim the Electronic Transaction Act
  • Develop and implement a national cyber security policy and framework
  • Develop and implement a national data governance policy and framework
  • Update and operationalize the Government’s Cloud Policy
  • Strengthen the Governance of Enterprise IT across all of government
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive change management policy and plan
  • Promote and utilize Fintech and Mobile Money Solutions
  • Assist local tech entrepreneurs to get international accreditation in ICT

ELECTRONIC PROCUREMENT
The PNM will ensure that all public entities utilize an e-Procurement platform.

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The PNM will develop and implement policies to address affordability and equity of digital access for every segment of the population, with a special focus on the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

IMPROVING DELIVERY OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND EMPLOYMENT DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The PNM will Implement an Electronic Case Management Platform and Enterprise Collaboration Technologies for Ministries such as Social Development and Family Services.

UNIQUE NATIONAL E-IDENTITY
The PNM will develop a national e-identity for all citizens and residents.

SKILLS BANK TRAINING PROGRAMME

The PNM will facilitate the building of an e-Ready workforce and a training framework that will cater for both public and private sector employment. All ICT human resource capacity will be aligned with the new Government service delivery model.

DIGITISATION OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES

Governments worldwide are increasingly focusing on customer experience as they seek to improve customer satisfaction and efficiency.

The PNM will target the following areas for immediate digitisation:

  • Passports
  • Motor Vehicle Registration and Driver’s Permits • Registration for Tax, Tax Returns, Tax Clearance and Payments
  • Licensing, including Liquor Licenses
  • Company Registration
  • Land Registry and Conveyancing
  • Social Grants (Salary and Income Support, Public Assistance, Food Cards, Disability Assistance, Rent Relief)
  • Pensions

Other Government services will be added in due course.

INNOVATIVE FUNDING MODELS

The PNM will identify and implement funding mechanisms that utilize collaborative funding methods such as public private partnerships.

NATIONAL DIGITAL DATABASE

The PNM will develop a national digital database to support all sectors of the economy, laying the foundation for a more integrated society.

MULTIPLE BROADBAND POINTS OF ENTRY IN TRINIDAD

The PNM will develop multiple broadband points of entry in Trinidad, starting in locations such as Port of Spain, San Fernando and Chaguanas.

EXPANDING THE SUBSEA OPTICAL FIBRE NETWORK

The PNM will expand the current subsea optical fibre landing points within the Caribbean and to South and Central America to improve our country’s digital access to the world.

DIGITAL SECURITY

To PNM will invest in digital tools to fight crime and improve policing such as CCTV, CSI, body cameras, red light cameras, mobile scanners, and other critical security technologies.

EASE OF DIGITAL COMMERCE

The PNM will drive and execute 13 key digital projects over the next 3 years, to rapidly facilitate an Enabling Digital Environment in Trinidad and Tobago post Covid-19, as shown below.

To facilitate the participation of young people in particular to the technological transformation, the PNM will empower, link, incubate, support, finance and accelerate access to funding, training, and equipment for digitization.

We will remove all taxes on computers, mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software, and accessories.

To remove bureaucratic obstacles to financial support, particularly for young people and start- up businesses, once a tech start-up or new tech company (less than 3 years old) presents a credible business plan, we will remove the requirement for a proven track record and audited financials for funding.

The PNM will:

  • Facilitate funding by Government and the Commercial Banks for tech start-ups and new tech businesses, through grants and Government guaranteed soft loans with easy payment terms and simple qualification requirements
  • Provide tax credits to business that invest in tech start-ups and new tech businesses
  • Provide tax credits to business that engage in technology solutions and digitisation
  • Provide tax credits to business who create employment in the technology industry, particularly young people
  • Assist, finance, incentivise and facilitate entrepreneurs engaged in:
    • Software and Mobile Application Development
    • User Interface Design
    • Call Centre Operations
    • Quality Assurance Bug Tester
    • Animators
    • Visual Effects and Electronic Media
  • Establish a Tech Investment Fund and Tech Promotion and Development Company available to all viable Tech Start-Ups and new Tech Businesses
  • Encourage Angel Investing in Tech Businesses through appropriate incentives and concessions