- Move part of positioning ICTA to drive Govt.’s National Digital Initiative
- President’s Office notes costly compartmentalised ICT programs have failed to provide efficient, people-friendly services
By Chandani Kirinde
All Government organisations have been directed to transfer ICT-related projects and programs, including financial provision, to the Information and Technology Agency (ICTA), as part of the initiative taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to centralise systems.
The President has directed that all ICT/digital solutions having an impact on citizen service delivery be implemented under the overall management and supervision of the ICTA. This is to ensure that the public have access to the services in a cost-effective and people-friendly manner, that the programs fully comply with National Digital Policy and strategies of the Government, and that there is also optimal use of national level ICT infrastructure such as Lanka Government Cloud, Lankan Government Network, Payment Gateway etc.
In a circular tilted “Positioning the Information and Technology Agency (ICTA) to drive the National Digital Initiative of the Government,” Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera this week informed all Secretaries to Ministries and State Ministries, Chief Secretaries, Secretaries to Governors, Heads of Departments and Statutory Organisations to inform all organisations and Project Directors under their purview and instruct them to “transfer such projects and programs, including financial provisions, to the ICTA in a suitable manner in consultation with the Treasury regarding transfer of funding procedure.”
This move is also aimed at ensuring compliance with the technical and data architecture standards formulated by the ICTA, and with digital laws such as Electronic Transactions Act and the date protection legislation, while eliminating of duplication of IT-related work by several agencies, and minimising the cost of repeated data collection and data entry efforts.
The new move will also enforce digital identity-sharing to avoid inconvenience to citizens who transact online.
In the circular, the President’s Secretary noted that it has been found that many Government agencies are implementing IT-based solutions in isolation and in a compartmentalised culture of service delivery, and this has resulted in the lack of a cohesive, coordinated approach to build a whole-of-Government framework, where data could be shared across systems for providing citizen-centric services effectively and efficiently.
It added that despite such initiatives, outcomes have not been efficient, cost-effective, or public-centric, and instead, due to demand for extra employees, buildings, and logistic facilities, service delivery costs have risen and led to wasteful public expenditure programs in the National Budget.
“This compartmentalised strategy has also tapped foreign funding from different sources, engaged consultants and project management teams, and created wasteful expenditure on non-compatible systems and equipment,” it said.