The Maltese government has launched the CONvErGE project that includes a €40 million-investment in ICT systems to strengthen the public services. During the launch of this project, hosted at the Data Centre of the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat said that in the last four years the government has invested heavily with more than €200 million from national funds being spent on the development of government ICT systems. He emphasised the importance of keeping this momentum and for this reason, he said that the government is allocating these additional funds. €28.5 million will be coming from EU funds, whereas the other €11 million will be allocated from national funds.
In his speech, the Prime Minister explained that the next step to be taken, after a number of public services have been made available on mobile, was to create a number of new services that provide more benefits to citizens. These funds will enable the development of new systems for various sectors, namely health, social services, justice, public finance, tourism, emergency systems and business sectors. Apart from these new systems, the funds will also be used to strengthen the government’s IT infrastructure.
The Minister of Digital Economy, Emmanuel Mallia, highlighted that electronic public services will be offered in new ways following the €40 million investment.
The Minister for Digital Economy, Emmanuel Mallia said that he feels proud that our country managed to get these funds through which it will strengthen the implementation of ICT within the public service. Minister Mallia explained that a considerable change will be made in how electronic public services are delivered.
More than €9 million will be used for the implementation of a national comprehensive infrastructure for health, known as the eHealth. Another €12 million will be used for a new system for government public accounts and around €10 million will be allocated for a number of systems in several sectors, namely the customs, tourism, national security, justice, social services and business sectors. Finally, another €8 million will be invested in the ICT infrastructure that will not only be used by these new electronic services, but also by new electronic services that can be built in the future.
Minister Mallia praised MITA’s instrumental involvement in achieving all of this and said that the agency is committed to providing assistance and support to all the ministries involved so that the project is successful.
During this occasion, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg was also present and explained the context in which the EU funds have been allocated. The Parliamentary Secretary said that in the period 2014-2020, Malta has been allocated €828 million of structural funds that when added to the national contribution add up to a €1.02 billion budget. This budget is being invested in several projects, namely the creation of new employment opportunities; the promotion of innovation and competitiveness; the protection of the environment and the improvement of healthcare.
Dr Ian Borg praised this initiative, while at the same time thanked the Ministry for Digital Economy and MITA for their valid contribution and support during the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. He explained that this support was instrumental for the building up of the infrastructure and the IT systems that are being used and supported during all the meetings that are held.
MITA’s Executive Chairman, Tony Sultana explained that the project aims to provide a number of new electronic services while ensuring that the Government IT systems work better through a one-Government framework.
MITA’s Chairman said that the agency will be supporting the Ministries in the implementation of the new eService applications that will include a new accounting system for the government; a new electronic system for customs; a national health infrastructure for health known as eHealth; a digital platform for the tourism sector; a new system for the management of activity related to national disasters that can occur; new systems for the Maltese laws, legal profession and notarial archives; an electronic system for social services and a project which analyses the need and the development of a portal for businesses.
Mr Sultana also said that MITA will be building an IT infrastructure that includes a platform for government systems that will lead to the use of the Only-Once Principle; common systems that can be utilised by different departments and will be taking care of the provision of processes, storage and back-ups to operate the systems.