President Nikos Anastasiades said on Monday he was confident that parliamentary parties would accept the proposal to form a deputy ministry for digital strategy, research and innovation.
“The cooperation of all parliamentary parties is crucial to the effective implementation of a digital strategy,” said the president in his speech to the Digital Cyprus Conference.
The proposal for the creation of a deputy ministry for digital strategy, research and innovation, suggested by opposition Akel, could easily integrate the government’s plans for digital transformation which are of national importance, he said.
“In today’s modern world and globalised society, a country’s competitiveness is inextricably linked to its digital maturity and the diffusion of technology into its economy and society,” the president said.
This means that it is necessary that Cyprus accelerates the process of digital development, he added, so that it can face the challenges of the new era.
He emphasised the implementation of a digital strategy, which has been in force since 2012, and includes e-government, e-learning, business and industry digitisation, the development of high-speed networks, cyber-security, as well as a number of other similar initiatives.
“Digitalisation is no longer a question of choice but of survival,” said the president of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Christodoulos Agkastiniotis.
He added that as long as the implementation of a digital agenda is delayed, Cyprus’ productivity and competitiveness will continue to diminish, while investors will be discouraged and a valuable labour force will continue to be lost to countries abroad.
The government, he stressed, should have set up the deputy ministry for digital strategy “yesterday”, so that all of the actions that have already been agreed upon can finally begin to be implemented.
The president of the Cyprus employers and industrialists’ federation (OEV), Christos Michaelides, added his support for a deputy ministry for digital strategy, noting that Cyprus occupies a very low position on EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), 21 out of the total 28 member states.