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Malta

Investing in Technology (MT0015)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Malta Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Various OGP Unit will act as a focal point

Support Institution(s): Malta Information Technology Agency Ministry for Gozo

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: Malta Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Investing in Technology – Commitment number 3
January 2019 – December 2020
Lead implementing
agency/actor
Various
OGP Unit will act as a focal point
Commitment description
What is the public problem that
the commitment will address?
This commitment aims to address a wide range of current
issues in ICT whilst at the same time being pro-active in
addressing new challenges such as:
• Lack of awareness and support with regards to
blockchain technology
• Need for a Gozo Hub and more office spaces in Gozo
What is the commitment? • This Commitment will address new challenges in the
sphere of ICT development such as though the
investment in Blockchain Technology and the
creation of a lab within MITA that will incorporate as
well training of civil servants.
• On another note, this Commitment envisages the
creation of a Hub in Gozo aimed at Research and ICT.
How will the commitment
contribute to solve the public
problem?
• This Commitment will certainly generate more
awareness in blockchain technology both in the
Maltese Civil Service as well as in society in general.
It will also bring up to speed society with this evolving
technology.
• This Commitment will also aid the Gozitan business
society, as businesses will benefit through the
creation of the Gozo Hub that will incorporate an
increase in spaces for offices.
Why is this commitment
relevant to OGP values?
• This commitment will be focusing on technology and
innovation as a manner to improve openness and
accountability as its supports the Government’s
commitment towards promoting new technologies to
achieve more openness and accountability.
Additional information • N/A
Milestone Activity with a
verifiable deliverable
Start Date: End Date:
A Blockchain Lab will be
created within MITA, as well
as a Blockchain Hub to assist
2019 2020
and support startups that are
working on this technology. At
the same time, a training
programme is planned for civil
servants so that they can
understand the use of this
technology. For security
reasons, Malta will be making
use of this technology with
regards to education
certificates.
Gozo Hub: A project involving
a Research and ICT Hub in
existing ex-MDP buildings will
commence, as well as other
projects that are aimed at
creating more office spaces in
the Xewkija Industrial Zone.
2019 2020
Contact information
Name of responsible person
from implementing agency
Mr. Hector Gatt
Title, Department Principal, Ministry for European Affairs and Equality
Email and Phone hector.gatt@gov.mt
22957746
Other
Actors
Involved
State actors
involved
Malta Information Technology Agency
Ministry for Gozo
CSOs, private
sector,multilaterals,
working groups

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Investing in Technology

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“This commitment aims to address a wide range of current issues in ICT whilst at the same time being proactive in addressing new challenges such as:

  • Lack of awareness and support with regards to blockchain technology
  • Need for a Gozo Hub and more office spaces in Gozo

This Commitment will address new challenges in the sphere of ICT development such as though the investment in Blockchain Technology and the creation of a lab within MITA that will incorporate as well training of civil servants.

  • On another note, this Commitment envisages the creation of a Hub in Gozo aimed at Research and ICT.
  • This Commitment will certainly generate more awareness in blockchain technology both in the Maltese Civil Service as well as in society in general. It will also bring up to speed society with this evolving technology.
  • This Commitment will also aid the Gozitan business society, as businesses will benefit through the creation of the Gozo Hub that will incorporate an increase in spaces for offices.”

Milestones:

3.1. A Blockchain Lab will be created within MITA, as well as a Blockchain Hub to assist and support startups that are working on this technology. At the same time, a training programme is planned for civil servants so that they can understand the use of this technology. For security reasons, Malta will be making use of this technology with regards to education certificates.

3.2. Gozo Hub: A project involving a Research and ICT Hub in existing ex-MDP buildings will commence, as well as other projects that are aimed at creating more office spaces in the Xewkija Industrial Zone.

Start Date: January 2019

End Date: December 2020

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see Malta’s action plan 2018-2020: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Malta_Action-Plan_2018-2020.pdf

 

Context and Objectives

Malta has recently become the first jurisdiction in the world to adopt blockchain regulations. [10] In July 2018, the Maltese Parliament passed three laws that established the regulatory framework for blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology (DLT). [11] Since then, Malta has become famous for attracting business interest from the largest crypto exchanges in the world (Binance and OKEx, among others).

The main objectives of this commitment are: a) to create a Blockchain Lab and a Blockchain Hub within the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) to support startups that work on blockchain technology (particularly in the education sector); b) to train civil servants who work on education certificates; c) to raise awareness of blockchain technology in civil servants and society in general; and d) to create a Gozo Hub, by investing in more office space in the Xewkija Industrial Zone. As written, the commitment is not directly relevant to OGP values as it would not provide opportunities for the public to influence decision making or hold officials accountable for their actions. Moreover, the commitment does not disclose new information to the public.

The commitment is specific enough to be verified. However, more information could have been provided on the expected timelines and activities for each of the milestones, such as the types of startups to be supported, specific actions to be taken place during implementation, and how blockchain technology can help civil servants working on education certificates. This information would provide a better idea of the intended changes in policy or government practice.

Although the investment of technologies could be a positive step for Malta’s economy —attracting business and increasing Malta’s GDP— it is not clear how blockchain technology could contribute to opening government in the country. Due to the lack of specificity of the milestones, it is difficult to determine if the commitment will strengthen only internal processes of the public administration (such as training civil servants) or if there will be any public-facing elements during implementation. Moreover, it is unclear how the support given to blockchain startups could promote transparency in education. The IRM reached out to the representatives from the MITA Innovation Hub, the University of Malta, the Gozo Hub and the Malta Information Technology Authority but did not receive responses. [12] For all these reasons, the IRM considers that, as written, the commitment could have a minor potential impact.

Next steps

The IRM does not recommend carrying this commitment forward to the next action plan unless it is modified to be relevant to advancing OGP values for improving access to information, civic participation or public accountability. Moving forward on this commitment, the following actions could be taken:

  • Invite the private sector and relevant CSOs to participate in the implementation of the commitment. In particular, the government could involve relevant stakeholders from the educational field;
  • Consider the implementation of ICT to prevent corruption and promote public integrity measures, taking into consideration the potential of blockchain for the protection against fraud and the decentralised and shared control of transactions;

 

[11] The first law, known as the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act), establishes the Malta Digital Innovation Authority and certifies DLT platform; the second law, known as the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS Act), deals with DLT arrangements and certifications of DLT platforms. This bill is primarily concerned with the setting up of exchanges and other companies operating in the cryptocurrency market. The third law, known as the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA Act), establishes the regulatory regime governing ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers, etc., https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelwolfson/2018/07/05/maltese-parliament-passes-laws-that-set-regulatory-framework-for-blockchain-cryptocurrency-and-dlt/#2728fa2249ed, accessed 10 August 2019.
[12] During June, July and August, the IRM consultant reached out by email to the following organisations but received no response: MITA innovation hub; Malta Information Technology Agency; Gozo Hub and the University of Malta. 

Commitments

  1. M-Government

    MT0013, 2018, E-Government

  2. Integration of Maltese Islands

    MT0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Investing in Technology

    MT0015, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Industrial and Employment Relations Improvements

    MT0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Strengthening Commission for Domestic Violence

    MT0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Participation of Women in the Public Service

    MT0008, 2015, Capacity Building

  7. Public Servant Knowledge Sharing

    MT0009, 2015, Capacity Building

  8. e-Services Online

    MT0010, 2015, E-Government

  9. Public Access to Information

    MT0011, 2015, E-Government

  10. Social Dialogue

    MT0012, 2015, Capacity Building

  11. Having Cleaner Beaches

    MT0001, 2012, Environment and Climate

  12. Construction of Safer Roads

    MT0002, 2012, Infrastructure & Transport

  13. Environment

    MT0003, 2012, Environment and Climate

  14. Transparency in Public Spending

    MT0004, 2012, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  15. Taxation and Benefits Abuses

    MT0005, 2012, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  16. Procurement

    MT0006, 2012, Open Contracting and Procurement

  17. One-Stop Shop for Citizens

    MT0007, 2012, Public Service Delivery