Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Digital Transformation Agency to replace ICTA by enacting Technology Promotion Act soon

By: Staff Writer

May 26, Colombo (LNW): The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) Act No. 27 of 2003 will be repealed by introducing the Technology Promotion Act paving the way for the establishment of Digital Transformation Agency

Accordingly, the Legal Draftsman is to prepare a draft bill based on the proposed concept paper and the new act involves “introducing new laws for digital improvement/transformation” and the establishment of a technology innovation council along with a digital transformation agency.

The news comes after the president first announced plans some times back for such an agency with the idea of building government apps in-house. Additionally, the agency would collect and monitor numerous state institutions.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) will be absorbed by the proposed Digital Transformation Agency, the State Minister of Technology reveals.

State Minister of Technology Kanaka Herath revealed that Cabinet approval had been granted subject to parliamentary approval to establish a new institution termed the Digital Transformation Agency, which would absorb the existing ICTA

The eventual transition from ICTA to a new governmental agency has been in the works since at least late 2022.

During the 2023 budget reading, the president declared plans to close ICTA and bring forward legislation instead, now classified as the Technology Promotion Act.

The amendments to the ICTA Act would also facilitate the creation of the proposed national AI center, as per a Cabinet briefing in December. Now, with Cabinet approval for the amendment and it’s increasingly vocal AI plans, it appears the government is moving forward.

The proposed Digital Transformation Agency is only one of few government bodies that are to be established over its national digitalization plans.

The Data Protection Act’s Data Protection Authority is expected to be fully operational by 2025. More recently, the upcoming Cyber Security Bill will set up a Cyber Security Regulatory Authority

“The Digital Transformation Agency will be charged with regulating policies. Also, certain services such as the Government network, cloud, and email will be provided by the agency. It will no longer carry out projects like before,” Herath explained.

He clarified that the existing staff of the ICTA would be absorbed into the new Digital Transformation Agency as per the bill that was being drafted nce passed into law.

Other particulars around the upcoming bill remains unclear, particularly with regard to the Digital Promotion Transformation Agency’s purview and scope of responsibilities.

It’s also unclear when the bill is intended to be made public. However, the president has publicly stated the government’s intentions to set up the necessary legislation in time for its proposed AI research by 2025.

This means the amendments to the ICTA Act and the Technology Promotion bill may potentially be processed in the coming months.

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