$5.2B budgeted for ICT development

─$2Billion for NDMA to ensure bandwidth expansion and continued connectivity

─ $65.6Million for completion of Linden Call Centre

Government will liberalise the telecommunications sector and increase access to cheap data and bandwidth to ensure improved access to the internet, increased ICT literacy, and expanded e-Government. Schools will be outfitted with adequate equipment and software, and curricula will be reformed so that ICT proficiencies can be developed nationwide.” Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, on Wednesday, made this commitment while presenting the National 2020 Budget at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

$5.2Billion has been allocated for the development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Budget 2020.

Minister Edghill, explained that the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) will receive an increased subvention of $2Billion to ensure the bandwidth expansion and continued connectivity of government ministries and agencies, schools and other educational institutions through the e-Government network.

The provision for the NDMA also covers continued investments in ICT hotspots and hubs, particularly in hinterland communities.

$200Million will be invested to expand the Learning Channel to ensure “our children continue to have access to academic resources as we prepare for the safe reopening of schools.”

Minister Edghill observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems across the globe and has led to the closure of educational institutions at all levels, making way for the development of a series of solutions for the effective delivery of academic resources to students including Broadcast to Schools on the radio and the Learning Channel on television.

Further, more than 200 jobs will be created through the completion of a call centre in Linden, which will then be operated privately. This initiative has been budgeted $65.6 Million, according to the Minister.