A professor has urged government authorities in the Pacific Islands to embrace ICT in order to revolutionize and transform the services it provides for its residents by bringing the system into the digital era. Professor, Graham Hassall, believes an education process is required to highlight the potential of ICT and the subsequent benefits that this technology adoption via government services will have for the Islands.
Hassall has produced a new book entitled ‘Achieving Sustainable E-Government in Pacific Island States’ – which encourages Pacific Island’s governments to embrace information and communication technology or so-called e-government, across multiple public departments. Hassall, who is employed as an associate professor of Public Policy and Administration at Victoria University’s School of Government –has conceded that the Pacific governments do have a number of imperatives to juggle with.
But he has highlighted the decision by Vanuatu to appoint a new Chief Government Information Officer with a strong connection through government, to the business sector and the community and a hugely progressive and positive step towards embracing the concept of ICT. In addition to this, Hassall revealed that Vanuatu host information days and invite the public to learn more about the initiatives it plans to embark on.
Hassall said: “Vanuatu is a great example, they have a national ICT day and they invite the public to come and see what they're doing. And they spread awareness amongst government agencies and departments, and we didn't see that occurring in every country. So sometimes we went into government agencies that were a decade behind another agency because they didn't have the leadership in place and they didn't have the co-ordination across government."
According to Hassall one of the main objectives of the book is to make it evident that leadership is crucial in order to get all government agencies co-operating to reduce the levels duplication.
Hassall said: “So you know you've got a tax office collecting; births, deaths and marriages (office) or registry; and then you've got an electoral office; and there might be others as well. But on the other hand, there could be some small states where if they had one central registry that had information about their citizens they could for a lot of savings, less duplication of this data."
The professor on Public Policy concluded that the support and the realization that ICT can impact, improve and transform the lives of people is growing.