By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The Government is developing digital platforms to automate the Cabinet Office’s functions and to handle the planning process at the Ministry of Works.
Lisa Culmer, IT manager for the Government’s digital services, speaking at the Abaco Business Outlook webinar, said: “We have EPRIS, which is for the Ministry of Works, and is an electronic plan and preview inspection system that is related to plans for buildings and stuff like that.
“We have this other one, the Cabinet Office electronic management system (BECMIS), that is to automate the Cabinet Office and the various processes that the Cabinet Office go through. At the Road Traffic Department, with the TMS (Transportation Management System), they want to automate the renewal of driver’s licenses and renewal of vehicle inspections to limit people having to come in when you have applied to pay and pick-up whatever. I don’t think they are actually going to be submitting those documents online but I’m not sure.”
Ms Culmer continued: “Then with the Port Department, along with the Department of Marine Resources, they have various permits that you have to apply for. They are putting those applications online as well and then, last but not least, the new digital government online portal, which will hopefully – once we get it all done – actually unite to a single point of service where you can log in to one place, access all of the services, and you won’t have to go to this one to get this and that one to get that. Everything should be able to tie in nice and neatly.”
Kimwood Mott, the Central Bank’s project manager for the Sand Dollar digital currency, said: “Through that initiative there are some key goals, primarily the financial inclusion and access; payment system efficiency; non-discriminatory access to the financial system; 100 percent access to the digital payment services; full admission of micro, small and medium-sized businesses into the digital space, and strengthening our national defence against money laundering and such activities.
“There are also some initiatives that are going to be geared towards government services. There are going to be some synergies had with those online portals, and the ability for persons who may not be in that financial space to have credit cards to actually be able to pay for some of these government services through these online portals through the use of the Sand Dollar digital currency.”
The Sand Dollar is the digital representation of the Bahamian dollar. Mr Mott said: “It is one to one. It is not a cryptocurrency traded on any sort of open market. It is fixed one-to-one with the Bahamian dollar. It is used through mobile phone technology, so basically if you have access to a mobile device, be it a tablet or an actual cellular phone with wi-fi or LTE communications, you should be able to participate on this network.
“There should be little to no cost in transacting with Sand Dollars, and while Sand Dollars reside in your wallet, it is not interest bearing. It operates the same way as if you held cash in your pocket; that cash will not generate any interest. So the same would apply to cash you would be holding in your digital wallet, because again it is just a digital representation of your Bahamian dollar.”