Georgetown Chamber urges wider use of computer technology in public service
Stabroek News
March 10, 2004

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The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCC&I) is calling on government to provide a coherent framework for the wider application of computer technologies in the public service through the preparation of an E-Government Master Plan.

The delivery of a whole range of services electronically has to be accelerated to cut down on waiting time and reduce costs to businesses, the business group says, so certain services need to be available on-line.

The GCC&I made these points in a press release on Wednesday following a meeting with Minister of Finance Saisnarine Kowlessar last Thursday in the ministry's boardroom to present its proposals for this year's National Budget. The Chamber was led by its president Edward Boyer and submitted a detailed written submission to Kowlessar the following day.

Noting that faster and efficient delivery of government services is critical to improving the business climate, the Chamber says government needs to speed up the computerisation of ministries and other departments.

The body also points out that public officers should be at the service of citizens and ought to meet the highest standards possible. Moreover, ministries should be required to undertake technical audits of their internal operations, including the efficiency of their decision-making processes.

Guyana has to fine-tune macro-economic policies, restore discipline in the finances of public enterprises and have institutional and legislative changes to help create an enabling environment, the Chamber contends, while noting that a friendly business environment is an essential condition for attaining higher levels of investment, sustainable growth and raising overall employment.

The business group is also urging government to be committed to further expansion of the country's infrastructure, to avoid what it refers to as the "emergence of capacity and supply constraints" that may affect businesses negatively as it competes globally for investment. "We must have in place infrastructure that responds to international standards in terms of quality, reliability and affordability," the GCC&I says.

Meanwhile, according to the Chamber, most independent observers are today of the opinion that Guyana's labour market is out of tune with economic realities. "It should function in a manner that would raise efficiency, enhance competitiveness and expand employment opportunities for all."

The Chamber insists that this is a sine qua non for survival in today's global economy.