March 10, 2017
PAYING OUR WAY: ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS FOR GOVERNMENT TRANSACTIONS COMING SOON
Electronic payments will move this country forward. This is the belief of the Chairman of the e-Business Roundtable (eBRT), Glynis Alexander-Tam, who noted that even as the country continues to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, Trinidad and Tobago needs to work harder to create a more open e-commerce environment.
At the Fourth Working Meeting of the eBRT on Thursday, members of the Roundtable, representing different sectors and associations, discussed what currently obtains with respect to Government payments and receipts, as well as the proposed way forward, legislatively and operationally, to rolling out Linx and online payments across all Government agencies.
When the Roundtable was reconvened on December 6, 2016, the Minister of Public Administration and Communications, Maxie Cuffie implored the members to drive the National ICT Strategy by helping to develop “realizable and implementable initiatives to help government, the public sector, the private sector and academia”.
The Committee has taken this mandate seriously, meeting on four occasions since then to influence Government’s ICT policy and keep the National ICT Agenda relevant. At Thursday’s meeting, representatives from the Treasury Division of the Ministry of Finance, including the Deputy Comptroller of Accounts, outlined the necessary steps for achieving electronic payments within this financial year, stating that the Government is ready to move away from a paper-based environment. They welcomed the input and advice from the Roundtable, whose member Associations include key stakeholders such as the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT), the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce (TT Chamber), the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the National ICT Company (iGovTT).
Expressing that “implementation is usually our Achilles heel”, Alexander-Tam promised the Treasury their support in the initiative which is expected to be completed in this fiscal.
In previous meetings, the eBRT have engaged with the Global Services Promotion Programme and the National Development Strategy, Vision 2030 of the Ministry of Planning and Development. Next on their agenda will be consultations on the National ICT Plan, in which electronic payments play a crucial role.
The e-Business Roundtable was first established in July 2006 as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to leverage technology to propel the economic diversification of Trinidad and Tobago. Since its inception, the eBRT has evolved into a successful and respected public private partnership that comprises business sector, Government Ministries/Agencies and academia/Civil Society.
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