UTB makes digital advancement with ECQ partnership

|    James Kon    |

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Brunei (UTB) will receive software products and consultation services valued at around half a million Brunei dollars, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ecquaria (ECQ) yesterday.

The software will be installed to train students at UTB, while arrangements have also been made to train its staff to use licensed software products effectively.

UTB will be incorporating ECQ’s suite of products, particularly the Ecquaria Government Platform (EGP) into its curriculum. As part of the joint collaboration, the School of Computing and Informatics will use the digital platform developed by Ecquaria Technologies for under-and post-graduate students to explore, design build and manage citizen-centric digital services.

The guest of honour at the signing ceremony was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof.

Signing on behalf of UTB was Acting Vice-Chancellor of UTB Haji Ady Syarmin bin Haji Md Taib, while ECQ was represented by its Chief Executive Officer Dr Foong Wai Keong.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Dean of School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) at UTB Dr Au Thien Wan, and Director of Innovations at ECQ Lee Sea Lim.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof, Chief Executive Officer of ECQ Dr Foong Wai Keong and Acting Vice-Chancellor of UTB Haji Ady Syarmin bin Haji Md Taib in a group photo after the MoU signing. – JAMES KON

Dr Foong in his welcoming remarks said, “Since the early 2000s, Ecquaria has been working closely with the Brunei government to build Brunei’s digital government ecosystem to improve public sector productivity, develop the economy and enhance the lives of Brunei citizens.

“Our first major project with the Brunei government was the EMinCom portal, which is a platform for developing government-to-citizen services. At that time, the goal was to put government counter services online to facilitate the citizens’ interactions with the government and speed up the processing time. With online services, citizens have convenient access to government agencies from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day. This dramatically cuts down on travelling time and physical queuing time at agencies’ premises.

“After achieving online access, Ecquaria proceeded to partner with the Brunei government for the next major project, OneBiz… developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA). OneBiz is a portal for entrepreneurs and business owners to apply and manage their business licences.

“People wanting to start a business in Brunei only need to fill a single integrated form and make one consolidated payment, without the need to visit the multiple agencies for their licences.

“Such consolidated application and processes helped reduce processing times and improve the Ease of Doing Business in Brunei. As a result, Brunei’s ranking for Ease of Doing Business has improved from 86 to the current position of 55 under the World Bank ranking index.”

He highlighted that the Digital Government Strategy under Brunei Vision 2035 “has identified Information Technology as an enabler to drive the dynamic, sustainable economy of Brunei. One of the key focus areas is capacity-building programmes to enhance public sector ICT expertise. Ecquaria would like to contribute in our small way to the fulfilment of this grand plan. We believe that human capital is the key, and we can start by investing in the capability-building of the people of Brunei”.

On the signing of the MoU, he expressed, “As part of the curriculum, Ecquaria will set up a digital government lab in UTB and contribute half a million dollars of software products and licences, including the free academic licence of the Ecquaria Government Platform – a digital platform designed for digital government transformation. Through the series of hands-on lab sessions, students will be able to create and deploy cloud-native digital government services that suit the needs of the Brunei government and citizens.”

Dr Au responded in his speech, “We are constantly tapping into possible areas of research, with potential collaboration with the industries. Ecquaria Technologies is high in our list, given its active involvement in local industries and also the global market. We are hoping to explore academic and scientific ideas in the areas of mutual interest and benefits, for knowledge exchange and improvement.”