$1m initiative targeting Gov’t sector ‘pain points’

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

The Government is seeking to eliminate ease of doing business “pain points” in the public sector through a $1m digital solutions grant funding scheme that also aims to boost Bahamian innovation.

Wayde Watson, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, told a webinar yesterday that the Digi Innovative Projects initiative is seeking to incentivise Bahamians to submit technology-based solutions that will enhance efficiency in the delivery of government services.

The competition will be supervised by a panel featuring representatives from the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Department of Transformation and Digitisation(DTAD).

Mr Watson said: “It is geared towards providing innovation and technology to the public service, and also providing funding by the Government in order to ensure that these projects are fully implemented. What we’re trying to address are those pain points within the public service, so there is no specific area, but we’re trying to address those issues that may present a challenge with respect to the efficiency of government services.

“This programme is very important. COVID-19 provided us with an opportunity to expand our use of technology, and the virtual environment for production and the production of government services. So we’re very serious about digitisation and e-government and ICT going forward.”

To participate, applicants must be a Bahamian citizen, and the ideas and proposals “must be” for improving government services. There are no age limits on participants.

Patrick Davis, national co-ordinator for information technology and the programme’s manager, said: “What we are trying to promote here is to reward and encourage young folks to participate in submitting creative ideas and benefiting from it financially, but also at the same time helping the Government and the public service to be more efficient in the way that we operate.”

Elva Laing-Carey, digital literacy co-ordinator, added: “We are undertaking a digital literacy programme, and that basic digital literacy programme is a programme that is going to be geared towards citizens where they’re going to be trained in basic digital skills. We are currently working on a stack of courses that we can offer, and it’ll be a programme where we will introduce digital learning concepts to all ages.”