Understanding the Regulatory Environment for ICT Infrastructure in Papua New Guinea: The Integrated Government Information System (IGIS) Case Study
April 23, 2024
Louis Budiman, Muhammad Nidhal

Metrics

  • Eye Icon 2 views
  • Download Icon 0 downloads
Metrics Icon 2 views  //  0 downloads
Understanding the Regulatory Environment for ICT Infrastructure in Papua New Guinea: The Integrated Government Information System (IGIS) Case Study Image
Abstract

The Integrated Government Information System (IGIS) is a private government network comprising several components such as records and data management services, government email, civil registration, the IGIS portal, IGIS data center & disaster recovery center, IGIS network, and a project management office. The project sought to overcome the dispersed nature of government’s public data across Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) 47 departments. This would enable better collaboration and coordination between government agencies by facilitating a centralized platform for sharing, archiving, and storing data, thus enhancing data centralization and optimizing computing costs.
This case study provides an analysis of the current regulatory environment in which the IGIS project was planned, funded, and implemented in PNG. While the project aimed to streamline public data management, the case study finds governance gaps in security, transparency, and financing aspects of IGIS implementation.
The IGIS project came from a plan to create a private government network for the PNG government that connects all its departments and agencies in a single system. The project aimed to build a broadband infrastructure and a main data center to enable integrated and efficient government operations. It was also intended to improve inter-governmental cooperation and information management in a secure environment. The project was implemented by the Department of Communications and Information Technology (DICT) alongside sectoral government agencies in Port Moresby, with the main data center being hosted in the Telikom Rumana building in Waigani, Port Moresby.
The first phase (2011-2014) of the IGIS project was the construction of the national data center and establishment of a secure high-speed government network within it. It was funded through a RMB 359 million (or US$53 million) government concessional loan provided by the China Exim Bank. These funds were used to support a commercial contract between Telikom PNG Ltd—a state-owned telecommunications company in PNG—and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. for the project’s execution. The primary contractors for the IGIS project were Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, Telikom PNG Ltd, and PNG DataCo. However, the second phase (2018) of the IGIS project was not fully carried out and well-executed. The project began in June 2011 and concluded in July 2014, but the data center in Port Moresby did not become operational until 2018. DICT acknowledged that the IGIS project had suffered from poor management and is seen as a “failed investment.”
The project lacked transparency in its management. The public could not access key information about the project, such as contracts, loan terms, technical feasibility, and audit reports. Some information was only available on third party websites. There was no information on how the contractors were selected and whether environmental and social impact was conducted. This is mainly caused by the absence of a legal framework, such as the Right to Information (RTI) Law, that obliges government and business entities to disclose important public information. There is also no central government data storage system that can simplify data management and ensure public access through an e-government portal.
Furthermore, an unpublished report commissioned by PNG’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) highlighted alleged security vulnerabilities within the national data center infrastructure and insufficient firewall settings making it vulnerable to hacking and surveillance.
In light of the above mentioned issues, the study recommends the following main policy recommendations for future projects: (1) uphold principles of good governance and transparency; (2) establish an ICT working group to strengthen inter-agency collaboration; (3) adopt and implement a Right to Information law; (4) apply effective risk management standards during the project lifecycle; and (5) improve fiscal discipline and seek sustainable financing models for ICT projects.
Finally, reflecting on the implementation challenges encountered during the IGIS project is essential as the government gears up to procure and implement future similar projects, including the newly-introduced PNG Government Technology Stack 2023. By learning from past challenges and addressing the issues that arose during the IGIS project, the government can improve the accountability and security of its digital transformation agenda.

Full text
Show more arrow
 

Metrics

  • Eye Icon 2 views
  • Download Icon 0 downloads
Metrics Icon 2 views  //  0 downloads