The Centre of Excellence in Information Technology, an advanced Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training school is expected to be commissioned March 2018 at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen campus.The Centre will provide training that “bridges the gap between the Public and Private Sector,” Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes explained in a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI). “We have several individuals in the Public Sector that need retraining and constant upgrading to skills, but also it provides training that the Private Sector needs.”Public Telecommunication Minister, Catherine HughesAccording to the Minister, the agreement for Technical Cooperation signed between UG and the Ministry involves educational development, which this centre is ideally designed to deliver.The sum of $144 million of $4.696 billion of the National Budget will see this project being established, with assistance from the Government of India and the eGovernment Agency.The National Data Management Authority (NDMA)/eGovernment Unit and UG will share educational resources, especially in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. The University will share its teaching resources while NDMA will provide the necessary expertise when needed. ICT-based research, Operations Research, Ideas to keep the ICT Legal and Regulatory Framework up to date, ICT Project Management, and Data and Communications Networks and Enterprise Solutions in support of courses on the curricula will be shared.Minister Hughes disclosed that there would be two trainers from India on one-year contracts who would be instructing the students and sharing their knowledge with local trainers. The Centre, the Minister explained, is one step closer to preparing Guyanese to deal with the training issues. “It will be from a basic introductory level up to programming, to the development of apps.”The objective is to “prepare citizens and the Public Sector for training that is relevant to the services that we are talking about providing”, Minister Hughes said.
New Republic Bank systemRepublic Bank (Guyana) Limited has announced that 82 per cent of its point-of-sale terminals are now operable, thus, customers can conduct their transactions.It was also stated that the private institution is working to ensure that consumers are compensated for the inconvenience they would have experienced after a new banking system was launched a few weeks ago.One of the RBL branches“Eighty-two per cent of our point-of-sale terminals are now operable, facilitating customers’ payments at merchants, while we continue to address those outstanding for earliest availability,” the Bank said in a release.According to the banking institution, with improved services at their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), consumers can make larger withdrawals through an increased transaction limit of $100,000.The introduction of the “swipe card” feature will greatly reduce the need for the completion of vouchers for some withdrawals and deposits.Meanwhile, payrolls received to date have been processed, so that customers can access their salaries on time. The Bank is currently utilising four processing options to ensure that this completed.This announcement comes hours after the central bank vowed to go after the Bank with penalties.Governor of the Bank, Dr Gobind Ganga had stated, “There are a number of persons who have been disappointed as to their conduct when it comes to this new platform they’re trying to put in place. The central bank is also very disappointed. We’ve been in contact with Republic Bank to ensure they have the necessary structure in place but I should tell you they have been very, very slow”.He added that at the last meeting that was held with the Bank’s CEO, Amral Khan, it was conveyed that the Bank was trying its best to rectify the issue.“But that very best is still not what we are accepting. So we are ensuring that they are continuously addressing this issue to make it more acceptable to the public. We are hoping that when this platform is put in place, they’ll be able to compensate the customer some way or the other”.It was pointed out by Finance Minister Winston Jordan that the Bank of Guyana does have the authority to issue circulars reprimanding banks. Dr Ganga also noted that the central bank will be meeting with the Guyana Association of Bankers on Friday to discuss its concerns.The Bank’s Governor noted that when they do move towards sanctions, it’s going to be a substantial one. When asked, however, Dr Ganga shied away from singling out Republic Bank for sanctions.“Republic Bank is forcing us in that direction, not just with their current conduct but future conduct…this will be across the banking system. This is not something for one individual…We are not threatening anybody. We want to put things out in the open. We will say this is what is expected of you, and if you are not going to do what you are required to do, then this will be the penalty”.Since the November 4 transition into a newer system, many persons have complained about the long waiting time to conduct transactions. Shortly after, RBL said the system was displaying some challenges –which would be rectified at the soonest.This came little over a month after the Central Bank of Guyana denied Republic Financial Holdings Limited, the parent company of Republic Bank (Guyana), permission for the purchase/acquisition of the operations of Scotiabank in Guyana.