Monday 26 October, 2020

Party promises: Plans for digital transformation of the economy

In one week, Trinidad and Tobago will go the polls to select the next Government.

There are 19 parties contesting the elections, with only the People’s National Movement fielding candidates for all 41 seats.

As the campaigning heats up, we are taking a look this week at what the parties are promising to implement over the next five years if they are victorious at the polls.

Today we look at the parties’ plans for the digital transformation of the economy.

The United National Congress

As one of its 12 prosperity pillars, the United National Congress intends to establish a Digital Innovation Park in Sevilla, Central Trinidad.

According to the UNC’s manifesto, this park will attract entrepreneurs and firms (both local and international) to create a cluster of world-class export companies in selected areas of innovation/technology coming out of the foresighting exercise.

Such areas could include fintech, agriculture innovation, health tech, payment processing, software development and call centers/business process outsourcing. Both UTT and NIHERST will give the necessary Research and Development support to the digital innovation park.

The UNC says it will provide appropriate incentives to attract the research centres of technology giants such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Facebook and Amazon to set up innovation launch pads within the Sevilla digital innovation park. This will provide a platform for our local software developers and IT professionals to access regional and global ideas and opportunities.

Investors will be required to fully finance their own projects in the Sevilla digital innovation park. Government will provide all necessary support required to fast track implementation of investors’ plans, as well as tax incentives.

One percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product will be allocated to Research and Development with funding going to UTT and NIHERST. UTT will place special emphasis on the Internet of Things, artificial inteliigence, robotics and blockchain while NIHERST will conduct a foresighting exercise to determine which Best Bets Digital technology have high growths and earning potential in order to broaden adoption and use in specific industries.

A national venture capital fund will also be implemented to finance technological entrepreneurs and the UNC promises to work with local and international investors to create the fund.

The UNC also plans to implement a Digital National Identification Programme to enable citizens to access various services.

A national E-payment platform will also be created to allow Government to make payments to citizens digitally.

Read more HERE

The People’s National Movement

The People’s National Movement promises to establish a Ministry of Technology and Digital Records to ensure access to high-speed broadband internet access accompanied by the requisite ICT infrastructure is available for all citizens, especially schools; create an electronic population register of every citizen and resident, removing the need for citizens to submit data separately to each agency and to implement legislation to ensure citizens trust the system and agencies are transparent, secure, safe, and accountable in their use of the data

The PNM will also create an e-Governance Ecosystem, to aid in the delivery of all Government services online.

The PNM says in order 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 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.

In order to move the digital transformation process, the PNM will engage community influencers, appoint digital community liaisons, and create digital community portals.

A PNM Government will also implement systems that support online learning, remote work and e- commerce and support and facilitate remote working and work from home in both the public and private sector.

The PNM will also develop a national e-identity for all citizens and residents and digitise all Government services.

All taxes on computers, mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software, and accessories will be removed and to funding will be provided for tech start-ups and new tech businesses. There will also be the provision of tax credits to business that invest in tech start-ups and new tech businesses, tax credits to business that engage in technology solutions and digitisation, tax credits to business who create employment in the technology industry, particularly young people.

A Tech Investment Fund and Tech Promotion and Development Company will be made available to all viable Tech Start-Ups and new Tech Businesses and angel Investing in Tech Businesses will be encouraged through appropriate incentives and concessions.

Read More HERE


The Trinidad Humanity Campaign

While the Trinidad Humanity Campaign does not have a section dedicated to the Digital economy in its manifesto, it says it will implement Digital Identification for citizens to ensure payment of taxes and to track those who are unemployed and impoverished to lend assistance.

Read more HERE

The Progressive Empowerment Party

The Progressive Empowerment party has not yet published its manifesto but a snapshot of the document shows that in an effort to implement first world development to Trinidad and Tobago, a PEP Government will establish online and ATM transactions for ease of payments and the decentralisation of services.

Read more HERE

The Progressive Party

The Progressive Party promises a data driven society that invests significantly in research and development and an e-Government framework that promotes inter-connectivity in the public service and enhances the skillset of public servants.

Read more HERE

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