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the Digital Economy: Game-Changing Impacts of Budget 2024

the Digital Economy: Game-Changing Impacts of Budget 2024

The 2024 budget in Trinidad and Tobago focuses heavily on infrastructure, but lacks clarity and coherence in its plans for the digital economy. Despite the establishment of the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the appointment of a Cabinet-level advocate for the digital economy, digital transformation ideas are scattered throughout various support documents. Efforts to create a digital economy include initiatives such as telemedicine, a Digital Skills Development Programme, and the TTWIFI project, but progress has been slow. The budget also includes a tax exemption for companies investing in cybersecurity, but it is unclear if this was a last-minute addition. The Finance Minister’s claims of near 100% internet coverage and the availability of satellite-based services are at odds with reports of underserved areas. While the government has raised significant funds through the Universal Service Fund, there has been little progress in addressing broadband connectivity issues. The budget also mentions engaging with UNCTAD to develop a National E-commerce Strategy and hints at the digitalization of education resources, but these plans lack clarity. The digitalization of the public service is ongoing, with document scanning at Town and Country Planning, but there has been no progress on the overdue digitalization of the Police Service beyond plans for body cameras. The lack of clarity in the budget documents regarding computer systems and other digitalization efforts is confusing.

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Akash Osta
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