January 13, 2006

Minister promises $20 million for ICT

Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Jerrol Thompson is promising that 2006 will be a big year for Information Communication Technology, ICT in this country.

Speaking last Friday at the final day of a 10-day database training workshop Dr. Thompson urged participants to look forward to a big agenda in ICT this year.{{more}}

Twinned with this ICT development drive is a thrust to place greater emphasis on making the private sector more competitive and he says, Government has close to $20 million to finance this.

Dr. Thompson said additionally Government also has a substantial amount of money to help to take this country into the age of ICT and outlined the programmes they will embark on as they seek to accomplish this.

He said they intend to have regular training courses and in the first quarter of this year Government will be disbursing $3 million in small grants to persons wishing to embark on ICT training at certified institutions of their choice.

The Minister further noted that Government will also be embarking on a programme that will provide Distance Learning Vouchers to persons who have found suitable courses to meet their standards in any part of the world.

Under this programme, he pointed out, interested persons can be given as much as $5 000 in assistance.

The Minister said additionally Government will receive $20 million under the European Union’s Special Framework of Assistance programme come next year. This money will be used to provide further bursaries to persons wishing to be trained in the field of ICT and will also be used to construct a new model National Institute of Technology.

This institution he said will be opened by the end of 2007.

Meantime he said the Government will not be left out of the thrust towards ICT Development and will be pushing for the advancement of its E-Government profile.

Dr. Thompson said with the help of the Italian Government, Government will this year embark on its e-taxation project whereby persons will be able to file their taxes online.