01 August 2008

ICT projects ‘too costly’

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Overdependence on vendors and lack of monitoring have cost the Government millions of ringgit for the rollout of various ICT initiatives, such as short messaging and website services for the public.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said these initiatives were aimed at improving the delivery of public services to the people.

“ICT projects have helped in enhancing the public delivery system ... but the costs for the Government are too big,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Conference of Chief Information Officers here yesterday.

“For instance, several pilot ICT projects will cost the Government millions of ringgit if these were to be extended to the whole country.”

One reason for such huge costs was the overdependence on vendors, said Mohd Sidek.

“We hand over the job of developing and implementing such projects to the vendor without proper monitoring. The learning process or transfer of technology, which is supposed to happen, between vendors and government staff, either does not happen or is very minimal.

“Once an ICT project has been implemented at pilot stages, we should have been able to roll this out nationwide. But this did not happen and we still have to depend on the vendors’ services to accomplish this.

“That’s why the costs balloon and sometimes, get out of control,” he said.

It was thus time for government agencies and departments to develop their own capacity and expertise for such ICT projects, particularly in matters of application, added Sidek.

Sidek also launched an SMS number – 15888 – for services such as reminders for road tax and drivers’ licence renewal, and updates on status of identity card applications.

At another function later, Sidek, who is also the co-chair for Pemudah said the registration of freehold properties was now reduced to 41 days from 144 days from the signing of the sale and purchase agreement.

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