Stevian Simmonds reports.

The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force is calling on the Development Bank of Jamaica to utilize special tax credits to foster greater use of technology and digitization in the Jamaican economy.

The report which was tabled recently in the House of Representatives says COVID-19 has exposed the need for greater use of online services both public and private.

The task force report says given the government’s plans to build a digital economy and the competitive advantage and productivity enhancements which can be achieved it’s proposing a “Go Digital” package of benefits for MSMEs.

This it says will convince and motivate them to adopt new and modern technology.

It’s also calling for the DBJ to leverage a special financing window or reserving a portion of their voucher programme to assist MSME’s to create an IT digital plan and budget.

The report is also recommending tax credits for the deployment of digital solutions using local technology companies.

It says in the cases where the voucher does not cover the cost of the tools and professional fees for implementation, a further tax credit can be offered to companies that use local technology resources.

It says these vouchers and tax credits can be used to provide access to a range of online “How To” courses, outlining the advantages of digitization and how to prepare for implementation.

They can also assist in implementing MSME tools such as Office 365, Google Suite and digital signature packages such as DocuSign or Adobe Fill and Sign.

However, the report notes there are serious gaps in Jamaica’s broadband capabilities.

It’s recommending that the country move to strengthen broadband infrastructure to facilitate greater digitization.

One suggestion is a government driven approach by developing a single National Broadband infrastructure.

Under this approach, which has been utilized in other countries such as Australia and Singapore, the objectives would include providing 100 per cent access to all Jamaicans with at least 25 Megabits per second.