‘Digital Bangladesh initiative truly a learning experience’

Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT Adviser to the prime minister, has said that the “Digital Bangladesh” initiative was truly an innovative and learning experience for the government as it developed the necessary systems for materializing it.

“Since we came up with the concept of “Digital Bangladesh” eight years back, the plan was overarching visioned and the goal was clear which was how we would achieve it or not,” he said while taking part in a panel discussion titled “South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Scaling Up Innovation in Public Service Delivery” organised by Bangladesh and UN Office for South-South Cooperation in the Conference Room of UN Headquarters on Tuesday.

Joy said that the government then decided to set up its own methods, its own innovations of implementing this vision of simplifying services, and digitizing services, reports BSS.

“The overall goal was to digitize government services while the real goal was how we can provide benefits to the citizens with the services? How we can make the citizens lives and interactions with the government easier, cheaper, efficient and more simplifying,” he said.

The PM’s ICT adviser said that these are the problems that many LDCs face which he termed ‘chicken and egg’ problem as where to start.

He said that the government then decided to do it in a simple and cost effective manner in a bid to reach the services to citizens in remote villages and remote areas and islands.

In this connection, he referred to the introduction of web cam and Skype to reach the community healthcare services to the remote areas which is an easy, cheap and cost effective way to deliver services.
Noting that one of the big constraints always for the government was the budget, so one of the models it came up was the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
In this connection, Joy cited that each of the countrywide Digital Centres has three private entrepreneurs who run those centres and the government is no longer paying their salaries except giving their initial trainings.
“But, now they also make a good profit from those centres sitting in remote villages and areas and this how with a very low budget we’re able to roll this out very very quickly,” he added.
At the function, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed to establish a “South-South Network of Public Organizations” to develop a broaderĀ understanding and exchange of public sector innovations among the global South.
The other speakers at the event highly lauded the extraordinary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to unleash development in the country’s ICT sector.
Speaking on the occasion, ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao said that Sheikh Hasina’s extraordinary leadership has brought success in the ICT sector.

Source: The Daily Samakal. Date: 21 September, 2016