Over 200 ICT hubs to benefit residents of hinterland, remote communities over next 5 years

Residents of remote, hinterland and depressed communities, will over the next five years, be able to access government services online.

This US$17M project is being funded under the Guyana/Norway Agreement by the GRIF fund, and it will be managed by the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP).

During an interview with the Department of Public Information, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes said some 89,000 residents in approximately 170 communities will have access to more than 200 ICT hubs to be created over a 5-year period.

“In every single community we want residents to know that if they do not have internet service at home, they can visit a hub and access service free of charge”, Minister Hughes said.

Some of these services include e-services such as filing tax returns and applying for business compliance certificates among others. The Minister noted that the project will provide funding to start the expansion of the services

“That project actually provides an increase in government services, online services that the government of Guyana will provide to its citizens. Most Guyanese will think of us providing passport services online but it goes into every possible affair that you can imagine,” Minister Hughes explained.

Another important component that the project is that it will allow a higher level of transparency.

“We have been dealing with problems and challenges that are systematic to Guyana for the last 20 to 25 years, so the issue of corruption and needing increase transparency in the things you do is a real issue for us in Guyana, here we have developed and I speak personally of thinking that Runnings is okay and I know in a lot of the Ministries that a lot of time is being spent in getting rid of the runnings and the government has a zero tolerance for that kind of activity”, Minister Hughes said.

The Public Telecommunications Minister has expressed confidence that once, “these services are online…  I am confident in time that is how we will start to eradicate the challenge of lack of transparency and corruption”.

By: Gabreila Patram (DPI, Guyana)