Govt to phase out scratch cards

THE MINISTRY of Technology and Science will soon commence phasing out scratch cards.

In an interview on the sidelines of a stakeholder breakfast meeting on the strategic direction for digital transformation and targets for the first 100 days, permanent secretary Kayula Siame said as a country that is going digital, the ministry is looking at going cashless and doing away with physical scratch cards.

“Our idea is remove the physical scratch cards and replace them with digital cards which will be available through digital gadgets instead of people having to scratch,” Siame said.

And technology minister Felix Mutati said following the pronouncement by President Hakainde Hichilema which saw the creation of the ministry, his team had undertaken several steps to spur its position as an enabler of economic development through technology and science.

Mutati said the ministry had engaged a number of stakeholders and exchanged ideas on how to create partnerships in moving the national technology and science, innovation and skills development agenda forward.

“I must state that the exchanges have been very rich and promising. The President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Hakainde Hichilema on his address to parliament on Friday 10th September, 2021 was categorical in the role of technology and science in the economic transformation agenda of Zambia,” Mutati said.

He recalled that President Hichilema said government would place a premium on science and technology to promote innovation and contribute to sustainable development.

The administration also pledged to increase investment in science, research and technology and encourage investments from the private sector in science, research and technology.

Mutati said that emphasis was followed by the creation of the Ministry of Technology and Science.

“Through ICT and postal services policies as well as electronic government Act, science and technology Act among others, we will put in place measures that will promote affordable access to digital infrastructure through enhanced connectivity, smart gadgets and service quality,” he said.

Mutati said as part of the ministry’s strategic focus, the government would be digitised to promote convenience, reduce transaction costs and eliminate wastage of resources in the delivery and accessing of public services.

He also said the ministry would place particular priority on the digitisation of the national registration system to integrate system for Farmer Input Support Progamme, Social Cash transfer and youth empowerment funds.

“We will upskill the citizens in order to have digital friendly citizens through a number of measures that will include the review of curricula, training of trainers, creation of digital hubs among others. Protection of the people, the data and infrastructure will also be prioritised to ensure that the people are happy with the services – for transparency, accountability, and an open government),” he said.

Mutati said it was his resolve to realise a digital transformation for Zambians in all economic and social sectors.

He said the ministry would take full profit from emerging technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence (Al) robotics, 3-D printing, Internet of Things (IoA), 5G technology, high performance computing and block chain technologies among others, to reduce gaps
that hold back inclusive and sustainable development.

Mutati said the ministry is determined to harness talented scientists and innovators among the youth whose role will be to cultivate technology innovations and ideas that would be turned into enterprise for not only employment creation but overall economic growth.

“This will be implemented within various ecosystems for youth innovators,” said Mutati.

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