Fresh News

Thursday, 03 Nov

Address by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos at the International Digital Romania - 4.0 Industry Forum

President,

Commissioner ,

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

I am glad that we have finally managed to organize this event that we envisaged ever since the beginning of this tenure, but we were aware that up to this point, we still had other things to achieve. Early in my tenure, I identified and defined a discrepancy, a huge gap between the public and the private sectors in terms of the use of information technology. On the one hand, I noticed at the private sector, the high performance and huge potential in the IT field, and in the innovation capacity. On the other hand, vital sectors such as education, healthcare, social assistance, agriculture and fiscal policy are developing much too slowly and they hardly keep up with the people’s needs and the developments in other countries. Last but not least, we have all noticed that bureaucracy is deep seeded in the administration, overburdening us, and is a waste of energy and money for both sides, for the public sector, the taxpayers and the citizens. On the other hand, Romania has currently as President mentioned, all the advantages to become an important player in the region, in the European and global construction, advantages which unfortunately are not fully capitalized. I would remind here, on the one hand, the well prepared and competitive programmers at international level, with very good outomes home and abroad, but also those who are working abroad, in high performing large band infrastructure, even if, looking at the map, we see white areas too, which are not covered at all by this infrastructure, where it exists, it is of high quality. On the other hand, we have a strong IT industry, with strong growth potential, with a growing research –innovation sector and huge potential. Here, an intelligent fiscal policy, enforced in IT sector, transformed this sector as I said on several occasions. I do not hesitate to say it once more, that five years ago, when I left for the European Commission, the agriculture and the agri-food sector stood at 6-7-8 percent of GDP, and the IT sector was somewhere at 2-3 percent, now the IT sector has exceeded the agriculture and the agri-food sector and this shows on the one hand, the quick development of this sector, after certain measures have been taken, certain tax incentives have been introduced for this sector. On the other hand, I will resume this topic, it shows we still have other things to do, including using the IT technology, for the agriulture, agri-food sector to achieve performance. Starting from these findings, I quickly understood early in this tenure, that we should take certain concrete measures to unleash this potential that we have using technology, and to have a coherent approach of these measures, both to stimulate the use of the information technology in public administration and to boost the innovation capacity of the private sector.  On the other hand, early in my tenure, the President urged me to look carefully at these issues in order to find solutions, ideas to turn this potential of Romania to good account, a very clear growth potential in the economic field, comes from this sector. On the President’s request, we started working together on a plan, whereby to speed up the digital roadmap of Romania, with concrete measures, both for an efficient administration, digitalisation, greater transparency towards citizens, and for finding measures to stimulate the private sector in this field.

Thus, we worked with more Ministries with responsabilities in this field, and after a couple of months, we came up with several measures. First of all, we put forward this „Manifesto for a digital Romania”. Here, alike in other fields, we are aware that this year, we could prepare the grounds, the framework and the package of measures and the institutional framework, for this idea to continue in the years to come. We therefore established a strategy around three objectives. On the one hand, a better coordination of investment and public money spending in the IT field, with citizens oriented results, to reflect in the administration performance. Secondly, supporting innovation, research- development and entrepreneurship  and thirdly, measures to draw specialized professionals in the public sector and to ensure them a stable employment, to encourage them to come and work in administration in this sector. We reconsidered the way the Government was organized, the IT activity coordination, and thus, for the first time, we established at the Government level, a coordinator for the information technology. We have already appointed a coordinator, who is about to establish his team, and who will coordinate the entire IT activity at the level of the Government, both the maintenance activity, and the activity of design and coordination of the interoperability of various platforms that we have now in public administrations and some of them are not interconnected, or cannot be interconnected because of the way they were designed. Therefore, coherence is sought at the level of Government, central public administration from this point of view. This coordinator for the information technology will need to coordinate public investment too that the Government and the various subordinate institutions will make and to ensure the coordination of the e-government programme implementation.

On the other hand, to stimulate innovation and to infuse innovation into the public administration, we launched the programme you heard about, with IT Government scholarships beneficiaries for brief periods, 6-months, but enough for these professionals to leave their mark, by tangible results, on the administration, in terms of its improvement. This GovITHub platform which wants to be an opportunity not only to temporarily employ people in the administration, and thus prompt them to take a break from their main activity field, and give a helpful hand in administration, but this GovITHub wants to be a connecting platform too, designed for exchange of information, opinions, among IT specialists in the Government and IT specialists in private sector, volunteers, people with great ideas, who can put forward proposals to improve the administration’s activity from this perspective.

Beyond this, there are several fields in which we started working for computerisation, or in other words, to use the information technology to upgrade and improve the public services. Without detailing too much, this will happen in this afternoon, I would remind the healthcare sector, in which we want to have, using IT applications, a better feedback from patients on public healthcare services, a better monitoring of medicines presence on market and their price evolution, or a better coordination of the auctions the Ministry or public institutions organize for services or required instruments procurement, in order to curb public spending.

I would also remind the platform for the budgetary enforcement transparency, that the Finance Ministry established as of spring. I think that if it is not unique, it is nevertheless one of the rarest platforms of this kind, even in the European Union, requiring all institutions with allocations from state budget to transparently display on this platform, all their spending from public money.

As for the financial –fiscal field, I would remind the ANAF computerisation and of its link with the taxpayer, an underway computerisation which will become effective by the end of this year. Then, in the field of social inclusion and social economy, we use the IT platforms to simplify the social services provided by state to local authorities or to beneficiaries but also social welfare data bases which will allow us in the future to better identify certain frauds which may exist in social services or social benefits requests. 

To give you only one example, whereby these crossed data bases, we found that there were many people who received social welfare as blind people, but on the other hand, they were on the list of people who have driving licenses. Thus, there is a problem somewhere, in one side or the other. And such platforms allow us to identify such problems too.

Then, agriculture is a field in which the information technology can boost the agricultural output performance, in terms of the amount and the quality, and I think that alike, we should innovate and use Romania’s potential both in terms of agriculture and the IT field, to do things which are perhaps novelties, even at international level. If we bring together agriculture specialists and IT specialists, we can do wonderful things for agriculture in Romania, and this is why I suggested you to organize a workshop within this seminar, today, in this field, because I know there are such ideas in Romania too, which should be turned to good account.

Then, other sector where we have potential, both on technology, and the IT is, as aforementioned by President, industrial development or Romania’s reindustrialisation, which can be achieved alike, reuniting Romania’s potential in certain branches of Romanian industry, like car manufacturing industry or the IT sector, which may draw investments, and it already does it, not just for car mechanical components, but also for the entire car computerized components, the future cars will have an increasingly important IT component in the future. This was one of the ideas fostering the organization of this event, some weeks ago, when Commissioner Oettinger visited us, and briefed us on the European Commission’s intentions to stimulate this 4.0 industry, and I said it is an opportunity to show Romania’s potential in this field, the automotive industry, the  IT sector, but also in research, innovation and added value that we can create using the IT potential.

Other sector in which we want to stimulate innovation, on IT is the cyber security where, alike, Romania has achieved certain performances, and they should be connected in order to be beenficial for the public sector, on cyber security, and the private sector alike. I think that Romania has an extraordinary potential at European level too, where we do not have anymore big market players in this field, and where Romania may have a contribution in the years to come.

As a conclusion, we intend to work, this is the objective of this „Manifesto for a Digital Romania” too, for a public administration development and reform, using the IT technology in supporting innovation in this IT sector, and we are thinking here about financial instruments to foster innovation in private sector, from startups, SMEs in this field, stimulation of innovation, to help the emergence of important actors, players on the European and international market in this respect, that would contribute to both the development of economy in Romania, of the private sector in this field, but which to be able to support too the state evolution in order to boost its performances. Thank you! I wish you greater success and  inspiration in today’s seminar. 



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