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Budget Will Aid IT Capabilities

Support provisions in the budget for new innovative enterprises as well as regional and community development will contribute to a strengthening of the country’s information technology capabilities, the Executive Director of ITANZ, Mr Jim O’Neill, said today.

“The Venture Investment Fund will provide a much needed source of finance for the rapidly developing creative software sector. Regional development funds for capacity building will offer opportunities to address rural communications issues and encourage IT literacy in provincial areas.

“The funding made available by the Government indicates a heightened sense of urgency about the need to address these matters that are at the heart of the country’s ability to develop as a knowledge society.

“In particular, the availability of economic capacity building finance for regional communities offers scope for public-private partnerships that can avoid a necessity for major Government capital expenditure in order to achieve its objectives.

“The information industry is positioned to form partnerships with both central government and regional communities to:

- Advance initiatives for better communications facilities

- Stimulate e-commerce and e-government

- Develop projects to address digital divide issues that impact on farming communities, education facilities and less advantaged socio-economic groups.

“The budget funding sets the stage for Government Ministries and departments to accelerate progress on spending aggregation with the aim of co-ordinating the flow of government funds into a region in such a way that it supports infrastructure development.

“By achieving a sufficient degree of spending aggregation across departmental boundaries they will significantly enhance the capability of the private sector to back the Government’s policy for regional development with capital support.”

Mr O’Neill said provisions made for addressing digital divide issues in Northland and Southland-Otago were significant steps toward the introduction of practical projects in both areas.

Ends


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