PM: IDB loan will make govt services ‘more efficient, more effective’
The government signed loan agreements yesterday totaling $130 million with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a government digital transformation project and a contingent loan for natural disaster emergencies.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Melia Nassau Beach resort, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the $30 million government digital transformation project will make government services “more efficient, more effective and more citizen and client driven”. The contingent loan totals $100 million and will only be used in case of emergencies brought on by a natural disaster.
“I often remind my Cabinet colleagues that we were elected for change,” said Minnis. “Change is not easy or fast but it is absolutely necessary. Innovation, creativity, disruption and transformation are words usually not associated with the government, but this too must change.
“We will significantly improve the ease of doing business and enhance productivity throughout our expanding economy, including for small business owners, who are often frustrated by online processes and government services.”
The prime minister added that government services must also be made easily available to family island residents, which the digital transformation project is designed to do.
According to Minnis, the IDB loan is expected to reduce red tape when conducting business with the government; improve the ease of doing business; and improve the country’s competitive stance in the region. He said it will also reduce corruption.
“Businesses, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens will therefore benefit from this national digital transformation program,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we typically function in ways that make it convenient for the government, instead of what is best for citizens and residents.
“Every ministry and department, however, must identify where there is inefficiency in its government bureaucracy and significantly improve processes to deliver services with much greater efficiency. This program will foster competitiveness in The Bahamas by reducing the time and cost of conducting business with government.”
The digitization project will mean government departments will be able to share documents and not require their clients to provide those documents time and again.
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