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NICT Project plans to launch next month

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07 February 2018 In the past five years, the Tongan Government has always envisioned a new era for Tonga where Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can be utilized to improve its services. Now that dream will soon become a reality as the first phase of the e-government project dubbed as National ICT Project (NICT) is planned to be launched next month.

The NICT Project comprises of three services which are

(i)Unified communications platform to enable inter government collaboration and citizen communications with the government,

(ii) A secured data center to support government data and applications and

(ii) A secured high speed government fiber optic network that covers all ministries offices across Tongatapu.

Director of Information, Mr. Andrew To’imoana said discussions about the implementation of e-government started in the late 1990s, but since 2015 the government refocused its effort after discussions with the donors.

“In 2015 we developed concept notes for the donors and discussed ways of financing the different phases of the project. The first phase is fully funded by the Government of Tonga through reallocation of the budget based on how much government departments and ministries currently spendon  internet and communication annually.  These new ICT initiatives and other components of the project must follow the international standard,” he said.

“The second phase of the E-Government project which will consist of building databases and integration between ministries’ systems that will enable the platform for online government services for the public. This component of the project is to be funded through a grant from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).”

The project is expected to centralize control and management of systems, increased availability of cross agency information which can result in more effective decision making, streamline provision of customer services and save resources and money.

“Integration of services to this data center will help decrease cost of managing and maintaining ICT infrastructure for the government. It will also reduce duplication of services in individual ministries and government information will be more secured,” he said.

It is also projected to improve abilities to launch new services more quickly and improve security.

Despite the benefits of NICT, budget constraint is an ongoing challenge for the project.

“Budget limitation is always a challenge but Tonga is fortunate that the government is only funding the first phase and the rest of the phases will be funded by ADB and World Bank.”

ENDS

Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communication

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 February 2018 16:14 )  

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