20 October 2010 The Ministry of Public Enterprises (MPE), first established in 2006, is among the few new Ministries set up by the Government of Tonga (GOT) to carry forward its various reform programs. One its key focus is the economical reforms programs, particularly in the attempt to better utilise public resources in creating wealth and adding value to service provision.
The Ministry became the Government's representative (as the shareholder) to monitor the performance of the Public Enterprises in accordance with the Public Enterprises Act, the requirement of the National Development Framework and other economic platforms. At the same time, the Ministry is integrating its policy with the GOT's overall emphasis on a private sector-led economy.
Given its primary functions and responsibility to the Government owned Businesses, MPE key objectives includes improving its accountability for the Public Enterprises and improving policy dialogue with the private sector.
The Ministry has four operating programs including Reporting and Monitoring, Corporatisation Rationalization and Capacity Building, to assist itself in achieving its objectives.In carrying out these programs, with particular focus on the Reporting and Monitoring, the Ministry has signed on for Technical Assistance funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve its systems infrastructure.
In June 2010, JICA engaged Miss Hitomi Kobayashi, on a six months placement with the Ministry. Her main tasks included conducting feasible studies and assessment of the current reporting systems and creating internal database packages and training for the departmental staff.
Miss Kobayashi said that," Like every other financial and business environment, the integrity of reports is based on accurate and timely available of data at your fingertips",
"With accumulated volumes of data to process each day, databases solutions are ideal for ensuring that effective records and information management are in place"
"There are data from sixteen public enterprises being inputted and one key issue is aggregating these data and information from sixteen different sources""With the standardization of the data processes, it will present a much easier way to understand framework of the reports, thus significantly reduces the time it takes for staff to "get up to speed" on a particular public enterprise's reports."
Miss Kobayashi, who has experiences with Visual Basic programming said that, "with the new system such technical and security features of the data is ensured by utilising the latest database tools"The new database system is hoped to provide a more effective reporting feature and better analytical work for better collaboration and coordination between the Ministry and the Government Enterprises.
The Government of Tonga is a model user of ICT and this is one of the Department of Communications of the Ministry of Information and Communications's key focuses is to foster the growth and modernization of technical environment and ICT infrastructure in each Ministry, ensuring effective delivery of government services. This support given is through participation in international trainings and promoting confidence in the use of ICT, with an enabling legislation which protects the interests, security and intellectual property rights of sharing of information amongst government and various stakeholder agencies.
Miss Kobayashi is due to finalise the project on the first week on November this year, before returning to Japan in December. Miss Kobayashi worked as a system engineer in an industrial manufacturing company prior to coming to Tonga.
The Ministry is looking forward to the completion of the project and have enjoyed the skills and experiences shared by Miss Kobayashi.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010