Govt moving to universalize ICT investment benefits, Acti says

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Chilean government is drafting legislation that will harmonize ICT investment incentives between domestic and international firms, the president of local IT industry association Acti, Raul Ciudad, told BNamericas.

Acti and compatriot software and IT services industry association Gechs have previously accused the Chilean government of prioritizing investments from multinationals, while at the same time letting smaller, local players slide by the wayside.

"The government has already decided to create a tool that benefits Chilean technology companies that invest in infrastructure to export services," Ciudad said. "They will have access to subsidies or some sort of financial support to be able to make the jump to the international market, similar to international companies when they establish operations in Chile to export services."

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"This advance is absolutely confirmed. They're working to finish the document so that both international companies and local companies have the same benefits. ... This tool will be ready in March."

Aside from monitoring advances with the new incentives, Acti will be working with the government this year to beef up ICT institutionalism, strengthen Chile's reputation as a global IT service hub and also leverage technology to modernize the state.

"There are various fronts in that area, such as interoperability, which would interconnect all government institutions," Ciudad said. "There's also the possibility of doing certain tasks online, as well as modernizing healthcare and education."

Acti will also be working to establish ties with the new transport and telecommunications minister (MTT), Pedro Pablo Errazuriz, who assumed his post earlier this month.

"Any change slows things down a little bit because it stops conversations until new positions are assumed," Ciudad said.


In related news, this week Acti and Chilean telecoms operator Movistar, of the Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) group, will announce plans to carry out a joint ICT adoption study, Ciudad said.

"We will be announcing a study that will be backed by Movistar. There will also be government representation," he said. "I understand that the study will be annual."

Acti expects global services exports to reach US$5bn by 2015, though a study commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank and carried out last year by consultancy Tholons indicated that such exports may only surpass US$2bn during the same period.