NATION

Analysis: PM, A-G Committed To Making Fiji A Modern Nation State

If there is one strong evidence that clearly shows that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimara­ma and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are strongly em­bracing the Singapore model, it is in the digital area.
23 Dec 2018 10:10
Analysis: PM, A-G Committed To Making Fiji A Modern Nation State
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with tertiary students after the launching of the new Fijian App digitalFiji on June 14,2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua

If there is one strong evidence that clearly shows that Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimara­ma and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are strongly em­bracing the Singapore model, it is in the digital area.

Fijians can expect more innova­tion in this area as we move to­wards a modern nation state and a paperless and cashless society.

One of the significant develop­ments in Government service this year was the launch of the Govern­ment’s new mobile app, digitalFiji in Suva in June.

It has revolutionised the way we access Government information and service.

Two features were rolled out.

The first is a directory feature that contains contact information of Government departments, en­tities and personnel as well as for our foreign diplomatic offices.

The second is a feedback sys­tem where users can submit their feedback on Government services. They can also attach documents and photos as supportive evidence.

It also has mechanism where us­ers can track the issues that they submitted.

Mr Bainimarama said then the Singapore Government was the ob­vious choice when it came to find the right partner for the project.

He said: “In Singapore’s own de­velopment journey, their Govern­ment took technology by the reins, bringing their government servic­es online in an innovative way that gave their citizens a direct line of communication with their Govern­ment, and made services massively more accessible.”

Singapore has become a world-class technology hub in Asia and a favoured destination for firms looking to develop their region’s growing markets.

Singapore’s Economic Develop­ment Board (EDB) says 80 out of the world’s top 100 tech firms have operations in the city, and they are increasing investments.

The 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index ranks Singapore number six in the world, just ahead of Japan and the U.S., while China comes in at number 21.

In the digital trade, Singapore is a driving force behind moves to introduce formal legal frameworks and standards for e-commerce, data management, intellectual Property protection and digital cash. Singapore’s workers are one of the world’s most tech-savvy.

In Fiji, other important achieve­ments in this area are as follows:

  • From January 1, people won’t be charged transaction fee when they use their EFTPOS cards to buy goods.

This is in line with Government’s initiative announced in the 2018-2019 National Budget, where all the commercial banks will be offering unlimited free EFTPOS purchase transactions for local Debit Card holders (commonly known as ATM access cards).

This initiative will greatly assist in terms of promoting cashless and paperless banking in Fiji and sup­port a Green Society.

  • eTender Portal

A new electronic tendering (eTender) Portal is now online.

The Government says it’s “an easy-to-use online resource that massively streamlines the gov­ernment tender process, giving registered traders a one-stop shop to view, submit and participate in government tenders.”

It says it is the latest in a string of achievements to bring greater transparency and accountability to the government tender process and cut down on the time and cost of submitting, reviewing and award­ing paper-based tenders.

This has seen a big spike in Gov­ernment tenders as development projects increase in an unprec­edented way.

  • eTicketing for the bus industry was a major step forward.

It was part of the move to modern­ise the country.

It brings us up to the same par as Australia and New Zealand and many other developed countries.

It has transformed the lives of many people who depend on buses for their transport because it is convenient.

It is also transparent and controls the distribution of the transport assistance/subsidy to the students, the pensioners, the senior citizens and the disabled citizens/resi­dents.

Other areas that the Government will be focusing on include:

  • Developing suburbs of towns and cities with the concept of shop­ping malls and one stop shops such as Nakasi shopping centre and Ma­koi shopping centre between Suva and Nausori. Public amenities such as markets, bus stands and toilets are also factored in.

The Government knows that the young people of this country make up 60 per cent of the country’s pop­ulation.

When they grow old they are not expected to travel to town to access these facilities. They can just go to their nearest suburb at a quicker time and less cost.

  • The public-private partnership in developing modern health and medical facilities like in Ba and Lautoka will continue to enable Fi­jians to access medical treatment that is only available overseas.
  • The Young Entrepreneur Scheme (YES) will be promoted to encourage young people to do re­search and grow their own indus­try and business.

Two have benefitted, one devel­oping a hydroponic farm and the other has set up a mobile App for healthy food, exercise and healthy living.

  • People can expect tougher anti-litter laws like in Singapore which is regarded as one of the world’s cleanest cities.
  • Contemporary arts will be en­couraged to develop local talents in the film industry, music and books/novels.

The list goes on but it is suffice to say that Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum are poised to de­liver more for the people in their second term in office.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatki@fijisun.com.fj

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