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Togiola submits measure to establish local Dept of Information Technology

fili@samoanews.com

A proposal to establish by law the local Department of Information Technology was submitted last week by Gov. Togiola Tulafono to the Legislature for consideration and speedy approval, and the measure is now being put in bill form for introduction in both the Senate and House.

In a cover letter to the Fono leadership that includes the proposed bill, Togiola said this department was established in September 2010 through an executive order and since then, the department has been busy with developing procedures with the Office of Procurement for the review of information technology procurement before purchase by the government to ensure that services and assets are in compliance with government standards for information technology.

He also said that the department has been working to provide a new government email service to all branches of government utilizing ‘.gov’, which allows government entities to be properly identified.

Additionally, the department has since rolled out the new and upgraded ASG website — www.americansamoa.gov — which is still a work in progress, but it’s pushing ASG towards compliance with President Barack Obama’s “open government initiative”.

According to the governor, the department is also preparing to advance the Governor’s Office with new technology later this month which will allow many processes to become electronic.

Togiola outlined benefits for ASG with this department:

• the ability to expand our horizons and move toward the consolidation of information technology resources and assets;

• pursue new technology and solutions for dated government business processes;

• provide enterprise information technology solutions and services to government agencies;

• fund itself through cost-allocation-planning and self-sustainability measures leveraging existing government resources; and

• provide endless opportunities of cost-saving, of which our government is in dire need.

In his state of the address to the Fono two weeks ago, Togiola informed lawmakers that this department is assisting the local Commerce Department to take the business license process online, which would enable businesses to apply for and receive a business license through an online process that would greatly streamline the current process of shuffling paperwork to several different agencies before a license is issued, he said.

Additionally, the department is also working on a broadband mapping system that will list the types of broadband services that are available throughout the Territory. Such a system would greatly assist businesses to choose locations for commerce and allow residents to plan their housing needs around services that are available in different parts of the Territory.

“These developments of increasing capacity and infrastructure into the future requires a keen and focused eye on developing technologies and the applications that they have in government services,” he said.

In his cover letter to Fono leaders, Togiola says the new department will be part of a new Title 14 within the American Samoa Code Annotated for Information Communications Technology.

In addition to the authorization of this new department, Title 14 would provide a foundation for continued expansion of a forthcoming legislative roadmap for information technology needs, including Communications Regular, Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes, e-Government, Intellectual Property, Electronic Business Transactions, Digital Signatures and hopefully advancements to follow, he said.

The governor urged the Fono to “support speedy passage of this legislation and seriously consider the advantages of improving government services to the public and improving government agencies’ interaction with each other through the advancement of technology.”



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