The e-Government Steering Committee held their third coordination meeting at the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday and was attended by its patron, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
State Counsellor’s speech
In her speech delivered at the meeting, the State Counsellor highlighted the inclusion of e-Government in Myanmar’s 12-point Economic Policy as: ‘Prioritizing the rapid development of fundamental economic infrastructure such as electricity generation, roads and ports, and establishing a data ID card system, a digital government strategy, and an e-government system.’ She said this would allow Myanmar to integrate with the developing world and provide Myanmar with opportunities to overcome the challenges she was currently facing.
The State Counsellor said she expected work to be proceeding swiftly now that the working committee has been formed. She said the fundamental component for establishing e-Government was setting up an e-Government Integrated Data Center (e-GIDC). Since this data center would be storing news and information concerning the country’s citizens, providing it with the best security was a major priority, said the State Counsellor.
She said the Myanmar font on computers needed to be amended to deliver electronic services to the public in Burmese. She said Myanmar must head towards replacing the current widely used Myanmar-3 Font with the Pyidaungsu Font, which was more aligned with International Standard Organization 10646. She said this was important since ethnic languages would also be incorporated in the future.
The State Counsellor said Myanmar’s Tele Density was over 100 per cent and access to the Internet was over 80 per cent. She said the people were capable of using modern technology and as such, the government’s systems needed to be up to date as well. She said we must effectively implement data security, data privacy, and data sharing to protect public and national security. She said comments and ideas on the Cyber Law and Policy from the public and local and international experts needed to be selected on the relevance it has on the country.
The State Counsellor emphasized the importance for cooperation between the Union Government, state and regional governments, and related departments. She said licensed telecommunication operators and service providers have been notified to adhere to existing laws. She said the objective of ensuring ease of business was to attract investment into the country, but this did not mean people were given the green light to do as they please. She said this may be profitable in the short term but would bring serious consequences in the long run.
The State Counsellor reiterated that cooperation between the various governing entities of Myanmar was gravely important, as only by cooperating would development swiftly follow. She said implementing ID cards are vital for e-Government and an ID system would resolve a lot of current challenges swamping the nation. She stressed the importance of quickly implementing this system and for departments already using this system to communicate with those that haven’t.
Vice President U Myint Swe’s speech
Next, Vice President U Myint Swe, chairperson of the steering committee, delivered a speech where he first explained the history and formation of the e-Government steering committee and its subsequent committees and organizations.
The Vice President said they were undertaking work in line with the patron’s guidelines delivered at the committee’s first coordination meeting: ‘For e-Government to be implemented speedily and to achieve progress, there were three requirements: skills, investment and cooperation. Of the three, cooperation was the first that needs to be initiated and government departments needed to cooperate for e-Government to succeed.’
The Vice President said the steering committee has accomplished two of the five tasks set in the first coordination meeting while the remaining three tasks, which require long-term implementation by nature, need to be completed within a designated time frame. He said they have also accomplished 5 of the 21 tasks set at the second coordination meeting, and urged everyone to work together to swiftly accomplish the remaining 16 tasks.
The Vice President said the e-GIDC was estimated to take over three years to accomplish. He said they were in negotiations with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of South Korea to acquire US$ 93.779 million for the data center. He said they were preparing to hire a suitable data center from the private sector for the time being so that the e-Government system could be implemented swiftly. He suggested forming an assessment committee to carry out this idea. He called for suggestions and opinions on cooperating with the World Bank on enacting a cyber law and other laws related to information technology in Myanmar.
Steering committee members begin discussions
Afterwards, the steering committee’s secretary, Deputy Minister U Thar Oo, reported completed tasks of the second coordination meeting’s decisions.
This was followed by presentations from affiliated departments and subcommittees on implementing a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, replacing Myanmar3 Font with Pyidaungsu Font in government departments, the migration process to the ISO 10646 approved Unicode system throughout Myanmar, and designating domain names and emails for government ministries and organizations and the steering committee passed decisions on the submitted presentations.
Participants then presented their suggestions and requirements to swiftly implement the e-Government system and the Vice President and officials responded to them. The Vice President delivered a closing speech at the end of the meeting.
The coordination meeting was attended by steering committee members including Union Ministers, the Union Attorney-General, Union Auditor-General, Chairman of the Union Civil Service Board, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, state and regional chief ministers, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar, Deputy Ministers, Myanmar Computer Professionals Association Patron U Thaung Tin, invited experts and officials.
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)