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Government needs to be technologically up-to-date to provide better public services

 

It is mandatory that the Government stays current and agile in order to adapt to the demands of the ever changing technology landscape to provide an accurate and up to date citizen services at all times, Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure & Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando said.

The Minister said this at a ceremony held in Colombo to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft, yesterday.

Furthermore, delivering the key note speech at the occasion the Minister said “As the world transforms and digitization has become ubiquitous across all industries, sectors and the public, this partnership between the Government and Microsoft is vital for Sri Lanka to harness the potential of this connectivity, cloud computing and artificial Intelligence.’

‘This avails all sectors to be cost efficient, to acquire innovation liberty and to provide services throughout the country and the world with ease’, the Minister said.

The signed MoU recognizes country’s e-Government Policy and plans for Digital Transformation.

The salient features of the MoU are the establishment and implementation of:

The digital transformation blueprint for the government of Sri Lanka

Public sector capacity building and productivity enhancement

A software procurement program to ensure a secure and seamless collaborative working environment for the public sector for better citizen services

A cyber security risk assessment across the government and security program

Skills development for students with a special focus on the implementation of “Smart Classrooms” and digital education

Technical assistance and expertise on the e-Gov policy and plan

Addressing the gathering, Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager for Microsoft in Sri Lanka and Maldives said, “Signing this MoU with the Government is a landmark in our 14 year long journey in the country. It is a confirmation of our long-term commitment; in keeping with our mission team power every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft brings to the table the unique ability to provide a hybrid cloud environment with the best of both the public and private cloud to Sri Lanka’.

‘We are proud to foster innovation through our developer community, who are building next-generation AI applications on our cloud. Even more importantly, it’s about empowering everyone to fully participate in our society and our economy using technology to drive greater investment opportunity and FDI to the country,’ said Abeywardena.

 “We currently focus on three key areas as shared by our CEO Satya Nadella: Privacy, Cyber security and ethics. First, privacy is a fundamental human right, which is why we are working hard to ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).Second, Cyber security where we act with collective responsibility to keep the world safe. We have led bold new cross-industry initiatives, like the Cyber security Tech Accord, and have called on governments across the world to do more, through initiatives such as a Digital Geneva Convention. Third, Microsoft makes it a priority to ensure that with every step and progress in our work on AI, we work in an ethical and responsible way,” he added.

The MoU was signed by Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary to the Ministry in the presence of Minister Harin Fernando.