A report commissioned by VMware and conducted by Deloitte titled “Digital Smart: Advancing digital government for citizens in the Asia-Pacific" found that 85% of respondents in Vietnam are willing to learn new digital skills or use a new platform and 80% expect to access government services at the same rate or more frequently in the next five years.
The research found that citizens of APAC member countries are more digitally engaged than ever, but governments still lag in the delivery of digital services.
The study found that the use of in-person government services halved across APAC nations in the last two years, and 77% of citizens now primarily use a digital platform to access government services.
However, 67% of respondents expected the quality of government services to be on par with those offered by the private sector, with 41% of people struggling to access digital services on their own given a lack of basic digital skills and shortfalls in digital infrastructure.
With 900 million new internet users expected to be added to the region that includes Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea by 2025, the need for investment in digital services by governments continues to grow.
Sylvain Cazard, senior vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific and Japan, VMware said: “It’s clear from the Deloitte research that citizens expect the same level of services – and quality – as those delivered by private companies or organisations. Service delivery in terms of multi-cloud infrastructure as well as modern containerised applications and services are the way forward, so governments also need to align thinking and resourcing along these major trends to meet their citizens’ needs.”
This report brings together the latest trends of digital government services across Asia-Pacific, including citizen experience in digital government and their expectations of how governments should deliver their digital services in the future. To develop this report, Deloitte surveyed 3,840 citizens across seven markets in Asia-Pacific in March and April 2022./.
Early in July, the federal government released quarterly performance updates for the priority goals of federal agencies. Sadly, few paid attention. Not goal allies who care about and might want to contribute to advancing these objectives. Not advocates who care about the federal government’s goals and strategies. Not members of Congress or their staff nor even businesses selling goods and services to the government.
Contrast this to the flurry of attention the media, advocates and Congress give to the president’s budget request every year, even though the budget only discusses proposed spending before Congress decides real funding levels. Imagine if investors and financial analysts similarly ignored quarterly corporate reports to inform their decisions about what to buy and sell and instead looked at proposed corporate spending.
The lack of attention to the federal government’s goals and strategies, and its quarterly and annual performance updates, is a missed opportunity. More attention to this information has the potential to increase public return on government spending if goal allies pay attention to the information and come forward to contribute relevant expertise, effort and resources. This information can also be helpful to learning and collaborative efforts to discover ways to boost results.
Attention to the federal government’s goals and strategies can also enrich public understanding of what government is doing, why it’s doing it and how, in addition to strengthening democratic accountability by making it easier for citizens and their elected representatives to provide feedback to government agencies. Should, for example, any of the goals be more or less ambitious? Should they be fewer or different?
Consider, for example, some of the federal government’s current priority goals:
These and many more two-year priority goals are posted on the federal government’s hub for federal performance information, Performance.gov. So, too, are agencies’ longer term strategic goals and objectives, as well as the annual goals for which the president’s budget proposes funding. In addition, Performance.gov discusses cross-agency priority goals such as improving customers’ experience with the National Park Service and the Social Security Administration. It also describes communities of people and organizations collaborating to learn from and help each other Improve process quality in selected areas.
Performance.gov not only makes it easy to find agency goals. It also explains why goals and strategies were chosen, provides quarterly progress updates for priority goals and annual updates for strategic goals and objectives, reflects on lessons learned, and describes planned next steps.
The site is clearly a work in progress with room for improvement. Still, much progress has been made since it launched following passage of the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act. The site now provides information for almost all federal agencies, not just Cabinet departments and very large agencies, for example. In addition, it links to agency learning agendas, identifying knowledge gaps and priorities for filling them as required by the 2018 Foundations of Evidence Act. Also, some of the priority goal quarterly updates, such as USAID’s 2-year priority goal of reducing child deaths, lay out a compelling, multi-pronged implementation plan.
In the future, it would be good to see Performance.gov make it easier to find goals and performance updates for major Cabinet department components such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It would also be helpful for each priority and strategic goal and objective to link not just to agency learning agendas but also to evidence including impact evaluations and descriptive studies relevant to goal selection, priority-setting and strategy choice as well as to relevant data sets, data analyses and report generators. Providing links to this information for each goal would help those across but also outside the federal government hoping to contribute to progress on these goals.
Of course, the kind of attention given to this information will matter. If performance information is used more to punish and embarrass than to provide feedback and offer effort and insights aimed at improvement, it will likely encourage agencies to adopt timid targets they know they can meet rather than the kinds of stretch targets previously shown to boost performance significantly in both the public and private sector.
It is time for those who believe in the federal government and want it to succeed to act more like investors in the stock market or as partners or suppliers. give attention to the quarterly performance updates, longer-term strategic and shorter-term annual plans, and annual performance reports. Provide constructive feedback on the goals and strategies. Consider also and especially if and how to contribute to progress on these goals with effort, intelligence, resources and action at the national, state, regional and local level.
Shelley Metzenbaum, former associate director of performance and personnel management at the Office of Management and Budget, is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
The House Committee on Financial Services approved three bills on July 27 addressing housing: the “Studying Barriers to Homelessness Act” (H.R.7123), the “Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Act of 2022” (H.R.2965), and the “Housing Inspections Accountability Act” (H.R.8476). NLIHC has endorsed each bill.
The “Studying Barriers to Homelessness Act” was introduced on March 17 by Representative Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). If enacted, the bill would direct the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study to identify challenges in homelessness reduction and prevention. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 27-23.
The “Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Act of 2022” was introduced on May 4, 2021, by Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA). The bipartisan bill would authorize the provision of safe parking as an eligible activity under HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. The bill would establish five-year grants for cities and local governments to apply for up to $5 million dollars to establish or expand safe parking programs for people experiencing homelessness. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 28-22.
The “Housing Inspections Accountability Act” was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on July 21. If enacted, the bill would require HUD and USDA to submit annual reports to Congress regarding failed property inspections of federally assisted housing projects and to make such reports publicly available through a searchable online database. The reporting would include the following information: the number of properties that received failing or unsatisfactory scores; the federal program that the housing project is covered under; the defects and violations identified and the status of their remediation; the number of households that are on a waitlist to be moved to a different unit; and the number of failed properties that have requested an appeal. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 28-23.
Learn more about the “Studying Barriers to Homelessness Act” at: https://bit.ly/3zdYgK8
Learn more about the “Naomi Schwartz Safe Parking Act of 2022” at: https://bit.ly/3bfm3S6
Learn more about the “Housing Inspections Accountability Act” at: https://bit.ly/3bfm74i
OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 2, 2022
OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 2, 2022 /CNW/ - A post-secondary education, such as a trade school, college, polytechnic or university, is essential to the future career and long-term success to which students, including students with disabilities, aspire. That is why the Government of Canada continues to Improve supports under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (CSFA Program) for students with disabilities.
Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced new measures under the CSFA Program. Post-secondary financial supports became more accessible as of August 1, 2022, with the Government extending disability supports under the CSFA Program to include those with a persistent or prolonged disability. Additionally, the Government has increased flexibility for documentation that can be accepted when applying for CSFA Program disability supports.
These changes align with the Government of Canada's implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations to help build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities that leave no one behind. In particular, the changes support Canada's commitment to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, to help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education.
"An essential step to creating a more disability-inclusive Canada is re-evaluating government supports and services to ensure they are considering the needs of persons with disabilities. That's why we are expanding student financial supports, so more students with disabilities can access the education they deserve, and the opportunities that come with it."
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
"We applaud this significant announcement by the Government of Canada and Minister Qualtrough to provide financial assistance to thousands more students each year who have persistent and prolonged disabilities. This will go a long way toward making college and university education more affordable and accessible for students who often have extra costs and challenges because of their disabilities. Access to grants for post-secondary study is particularly important to the students we represent as Canada's organization of disabled students and graduates with disabilities. We really appreciate that our voices were listened to when the Government consulted to modify and Improve the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. Talented, passionate and credentialed disabled persons deserve full inclusion and participation in higher education and the employment market."
– Coordinator of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students, Frank Smith
"Expanding the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program to include students with persistent or prolonged disabilities is an important step in improving equitable access to post-secondary education across Canada. Recognizing the lived experiences of students with disabilities is key to ensuring that post-secondary education is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality."
– Chair of the Board for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and Vice President External of the University of Alberta Students' Union, Christian Fotang
The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability found that one in five Canadians aged 15 and over—or approximately 6.2 million people—report as having a disability.
An estimated 40,000 recipients whose disabilities are persistent or prolonged will benefit each year from this expanded disability support from the CSFA Program.
Eligible students with a disability, now including persistent or prolonged disabilities, could have access to up to $24,000 in grants, in-study supports, and specialized repayment assistance on their loans.
Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not participate in the CSFA Program. They receive alternative payments from the Government of Canada to administer their own student financial assistance measures.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a 15-year global framework adopted by Canada and all other 192 United Nations Member States in 2015.
Moving Forward Together: Canada's 2030 Agenda National Strategy, released in February 2021, promotes a whole-of-society approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It builds on the 30 actions and 5 core principles outlined in Towards Canada's 2030 Agenda National Strategy, with feedback from in-person and online consultations and outreach across Canada.
Moving Forward Together: Canada's 2030 Agenda National Strategy
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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
The COVID‑19 pandemic represents a serious health threat to people around the world and a significant disruption to daily life. It is having a major impact on the global and Canadian economies. Every sector of the Canadian economy is affected. Some sectors, such as the energy, travel and hospitality, and service industries, are particularly hard hit.
The public health actions needed to contain the spread of the virus, such as school closures, states of emergency, and physical distancing measures, while necessary, are themselves significantly impacting economic activity.
However, it’s important to underscore that while the impact is large, it will be temporary. Authorities around the world have taken bold and necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus and to support people and businesses through a very challenging time.
At first, our goal was to help Canadians bridge this difficult period by making credit affordable and available. As many economic activities are temporarily shut down, companies rely on credit to continue to pay their employees, and households need credit to continue to meet their basic needs. But they may be unable to borrow if financial turmoil curtails lending activity.
The central bank must therefore intervene to prevent a sudden contraction of credit when credit is most needed. If Canadians can’t borrow to weather an economic storm, the impact on the economy would be worse, the recovery will take longer and there will be long-lasting damage to Canada’s productive capacity.
Achieving our primary mandate of keeping inflation close to target requires us to stabilize the economy and employment first. In normal times, we can achieve our inflation objective by setting the policy interest rate at the appropriate level. However, during major disruptions to the economy and financial markets such as those we are experiencing with COVID‑19, we need to take more comprehensive measures to ensure that the financial system continues to play its role of providing credit where it is needed.
For these reasons, the Bank of Canada is acting in several ways to support the economy and financial system and stands ready to take any and all actions that we can to protect the well-being of Canadians during this difficult time.
In response to the economic impacts stemming from COVID-19, we lowered interest rates to ¼ per cent to support economic activity. These moves support consumers and businesses by lowering payments on existing and new loans throughout the economy.
We also launched a range of liquidity facilities and purchase programs to keep markets functioning, credit flowing and allow interest rate cuts to work their way through the economy.
To support the recovery, the Bank has committed to continuing large-scale asset purchases of longer-term debt. The combination of the very low policy interest rate and asset purchases is providing considerable monetary stimulus.
The Bank has additional tools in its monetary policy toolkit that can be used to further support the economy and achieve the inflation target.
We are intervening to support key financial markets to ensure they continue to function properly.
In times of market turmoil, financial institutions may be reluctant to act in their normal role as market makers for bonds and other financial assets. Market makers hold inventories of securities and quote prices at which they will buy and sell—activities that may become prohibitively risky when the prices of these securities are fluctuating widely. Buyers and sellers may then find it difficult to trade—in other words, the market becomes illiquid.
This is particularly problematic in the case of friction in the market for Government of Canada bonds, which are often held as the safest Canadian-dollar asset. Those holding a bond may find it difficult to sell it to obtain cash, while those wishing to buy a bond for its safety may be unable to obtain it. Given the central role of Government of Canada bonds, including as a benchmark for other interest rates, such market illiquidity can have pervasive effects through the financial system.
As key financial markets became strained during this period, the Bank established several large-scale asset purchase programs to increase liquidity in core funding markets. With core markets functioning normally and the economy reopening, we have discontinued the market liquidity facilities.
The following programs have been discontinued:
These interventions, which involve acquiring financial assets and lending to financial institutions, increase the size of the Bank’s balance sheet. This balance sheet expansion, in conjunction with our other actions, helps get the financial system functioning properly. A well-functioning financial system helps the economy recover once the restrictions to contain the virus have been lifted.
The Bank has designed these programs in a way that prudently manages the financial risk to taxpayers. These programs mitigate risk by including term-to-maturity limits, minimum credit ratings, counterparty limits and concentration limits. When external asset managers are used, they are subject to strict conflict-of-interest requirements, well-defined mandates with limited discretion and strong Bank oversight.
While the Bank of Canada Act provides the legal authority to undertake these purchases, we have collaborated closely with the federal government to obtain indemnity agreements on the major purchase programs. Government indemnification against losses provides additional assurance that our use of these programs will remain closely tied to the Bank’s inflation control objective and is a common approach taken by other jurisdictions for these types of central bank programs.
The Bank regularly reports on the results of its large-scale asset purchase programs. Our goal is to be transparent while protecting commercially sensitive information and trade-specific detail that could impact the fair market value of the Bank’s purchases.
We report the total holdings of assets purchased through these programs on our weekly and monthly balance sheets. These programs also have dedicated webpages where the terms and conditions, as well as results of purchase operations, are available.
Finally, we will release transaction-level details of these programs with a five-year lag, or shortly after the programs are wound up, whichever comes first.
Given that the size and duration of the impact of COVID‑19 are highly uncertain, credit markets may become impaired. This is both because financial institutions face difficulties in obtaining funding for their lending as well as because they may become reluctant to lend in fear that many borrowers may be unable to pay. The problem of funding is partly system-wide and partly specific to individual institutions: in the context of market turmoil there is a generalized desire for safer assets, but even if that demand is satisfied in aggregate, some financial institutions may have difficulty obtaining funding.
Our interventions included enhancing our standard liquidity tools such as term repo operations (now suspended) and the Standing Liquidity Facility (SLF) to provide ready access to funding to individual financial institutions. We have lengthened the term over which we lend money to banks, widened the collateral we accept to provide lending, and expanded the list of eligible institutions that can access our lending. Widening accepted collateral helps in two ways: it enables institutions holding that collateral to obtain financing so they can continue other lending, and it supports the functioning of markets for those assets accepted as collateral.
We established a new Standing Term Liquidity Facility (STLF) to help banks better manage their liquidity risks and continue to provide their customers with access to credit. To access the STLF, financial institutions can pledge a broader set of collateral, including mortgages, which significantly increases their funding capacity. The Bank of Canada encourages the use of the STLF by banks to help them continue to provide loans to households and businesses when they need it most.
This facility, now suspended, aimed to counter severe market-wide liquidity stresses and support the stability of the Canadian financial system. It offered eligible counterparties liquidity on a standing, bilateral basis against securities issued or guaranteed by the Government of Canada or a provincial government.
The Bank of Canada’s Securities Repo Operations program provides a temporary source of Government of Canada nominal bonds and treasury bills to primary dealers to support liquidity in the securities financing market. The Bank makes a portion of its holdings of these securities available on an overnight basis through daily repurchase operations.
The actions we are taking are mutually reinforcing:
The Bank is coordinating with international policy-makers, such as G7 central banks, and economic and financial partners in Canada.
The Bank established foreign exchange swap lines with other central banks to ensure Canada’s financial institutions have access to foreign currency liquidity. Should a Canadian bank need to borrow in any of the major foreign currencies, the swap lines give the Bank of Canada the ability to meet that need. This facility provides the Bank with additional flexibility to address rapidly evolving developments in financial markets.
The Bank will continue to ensure Canadians have access to up-to-date information on its actions to support the economy and promote a safe and sound financial system in the face of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous quote that “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” is only true, at least in politics, if you learn from your mistakes. And last year was a teachable moment for Democrats.
Did Democrats learn the lesson? It’s not yet clear, but by the look of things on the one major bipartisan issue of 2021 — broadband and infrastructure — the jury is out.
The infrastructure bill’s bipartisan broadband provisions gave unprecedented billions to cure the digital divide — $42 billion for building networks in rural areas that don’t have any yet and $14 billion to make broadband essentially free for low-income Americans who have it on their doorstep but don’t sign up. That’s huge.
But now some Democrats in the administration and in various states want to use some of those funds to actually get local governments into the business of building and operating vastly complex and expensive broadband networks themselves. This is like stealing defeat from the jaws of victory.
To be sure, everyone favors more broadband competition.
But the idea that local governments should enter this marketplace with a taxpayer-subsidized network does not represent real competition, not even remotely. Think about it this way.
If there are three ice cream shops in a city, each shop will need to compete against the others by offering the best quality and service and the widest choice of flavors. But if City Hall opens an ice cream shop underwritten by taxpayer subsidies, it then doesn’t have the same incentives to make its best possible product and offer the widest choice and best service. Sure, it can still gain some customers with cut-rate prices, but that’s not really competition in any meaningful sense. You’ve effectively dumbed down competition and even deterred future competition — not a lot of new competitors will want to come into a market where the government subsidizes one player.
The same is true in broadband. Broadband networks are incredibly expensive and complicated to build. Then, they are incredibly expensive and labor-intensive to manage, upgrade and keep secure from growing cybersecurity threats. Broadband companies have to offer the best possible product in order to hold onto customers. And that’s a good thing — it’s the incentive they think about every day when they walk into work.
But like a city-owned ice cream shop, a city-owned broadband network doesn’t have to play by these rules. It doesn’t have to provide its best possible product or service or continually upgrade it, because it doesn’t have the same incentives when it knows taxpayers can bail out its shortcomings.
Further, it may actually deter competition. Will investors in a new competitive broadband service or technology really want to risk their funds in a marketplace where the government has a bottomless checkbook to undercut it, even with an inferior product?
Long term, that means less private investment in broadband infrastructure — slamming the brakes on one of the most potent engines of American economic growth. The Progressive Policy Institute’s Investment Heroes report found that broadband providers represented three of the 10 largest capital investors in the U.S. economy last year.
On top of all this, and as if this were not enough, these undertakings fail at alarming rates. Of all the municipal fiber networks nationwide that make their financial results public, 73% bled cash over the past three years — and almost 90% are on track for insolvency.
Democrats have important broadband goals on which they need to focus and succeed — wiring rural communities and getting every willing low-income American connected as the bipartisan infrastructure bill envisions.
In this way they can show the public — and particularly swing voters where elections are won and lost — that they can govern with common sense.
Lindsay Mark Lewis is executive director of the Progressive Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank. ©2022 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - To graduate from high school, students probably had to learn the Pythagorean Theorem, memorize the three branches of government and their functions, and read a little Shakespeare.
But in the future, South Carolina students will also need to learn skills like managing credit cards and filing taxes to get their diplomas.
This upcoming requirement to take a personal finance course comes after a multi-year, bipartisan push at the State House to make sure South Carolina students are financially literate and prepared for life after high school.
“I think it’s so important to try to teach some of these fundamental skills to these kids as soon as they can so they just get off on the right foot,” Bill Joy said.
Joy teaches a personal finance class at Lucy Beckham High School in Mount Pleasant, where students have to take the course during their sophomore year.
His lessons cover units on budgeting, checking, savings, and more.
“We actually teach kids how to prepare taxes, and actually some of those kids have gone on to prepare taxes for their parents. So these are the type of sort of life skills that I think are really valuable,” Joy said.
Soon, all South Carolina high schoolers will have to learn these skills to graduate.
A law written into the current state budget directs the South Carolina Department of Education to develop the regulations for a required high school course in personal finance by the end of September, to be approved by the State Board of Education.
“We all understand our students need this. They need the foundation and the background knowledge and the schema and the financial literacy, rather than finding it out when it’s too late,” David Mathis, the deputy superintendent for SCDE’s Division of College and Career Readiness, said.
Those regulations include how the half-credit requirement will fit in with the 24 credits needed to graduate and which graduating class will be the first that will have to pass the course to earn their diplomas.
Mathis said they want to be able to offer different options for students to complete this requirement, which could include taking the course virtually, as an elective, or as part of their career and technology education requirement.
The new personal finance requirement will not be in place for the upcoming school year, as Mathis said it could take around a year just to develop the course standards.
“Once that is done, we have to build the coursework around that. We have to secure materials and resources that districts can choose from,” Mathis said.
The Department of Education will also have to work in time for professional development and to train teachers on the new course.
But at least one teacher, Joy, said it is worth it.
“Everybody living in the state, I really think it’s going to better prepare our kids to deal responsibly with money,” Joy said.
Personal finance is a required course to graduate high school in more than a dozen states, including most in the southeast.
Among neighboring states, North Carolina already has a personal finance requirement in place, while Georgia just passed a law this year adding it.
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