Media Review

20 february, 2012 12:19

Izvestia: "High technology to keep low taxes"

The state machine to be cut 90 per cent, and the government to communicate with people by email.

Broader introduction of high technology at government level may help avoid higher taxes and insurance payments that are supposed to increase in 2013. In turn, this will result in substantial budget savings. Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina said this in an interview with Izvestia on the eve of the meeting to improve government management, which was chaired by Prime Minister Putin in Novosibirsk on Friday.

"We hope that this saving will help us get the most of these 2%-4% of the GDP that we require for a 'budget manoeuvre' and we won't have to increase taxes," the minister said.

Some major statements were made at the meeting. The prime minister announced that apart from the information on beneficiaries of contractors and other things, state corporations will have to report on the use of domestic software. He thinks that public disclosure is the right decision.

Putin believes it is necessary to create preferences in the public procurement market and that state corporations must favour Russian developers. The prime minister instructed the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to draft all required proposals on the legal framework as soon as possible.

Developers will receive a big purchase order – during the next few years all departments and public sector organisations should introduce the Electronic Budget system. It is supposed to be based on cutting-edge cloud technology. The system will use the same software for all government bodies.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov reported that cloud technology will save considerable budget funds.

"Now state departments spend billions of roubles a year on accounting programmes alone," Siluanov said. He is convinced that cloud technology will help streamline the number of civil servants. In his estimate, about 10,000 accountants are involved in calculating salaries of officials and after automation no more than a thousand will do the same job.

The government plans to save on provision of state services to the public as well. Today, the cost of one "paper" state service averages 22.98 roubles, whereas the same electronic service will cost no more than 2.85 roubles. To encourage people to go online more often, the Ministry of Economic Development has decided to use financial incentive.

"The difference in the costs of paper and electronic services is huge," Elvira Nabiullina said. "If a service is granted electronically, it is important to offer a discount so that people could pay a smaller duty for it. This will encourage them to use electronic services more frequently and we will make this system more comfortable and less expensive."

She said a relevant draft law has already been elaborated and will be submitted to the State Duma shortly.

The government also plans to reduce as much as possible "paper" correspondence with citizens. Minister of Communications and Mass Media Igor Shchegolev said that his department is going to create a government electronic mail "whereby every citizen will have an email address for communicating with the authorities."

All departments will send messages to this address, such as documents from the Pension Fund or tax notices. The "government-granted" address will make it possible to identify citizens when they submit electronic applications. It can also be used for collecting signatures during the discussion of different initiatives in the Internet.

Ruslan Gattarov, member of the government commission on the introduction of information technology into state bodies and member of the United Russia General Council, told Izvestia that this proposal of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media may be developed further. Thus, the "government-granted" e-mail may become an account in social networks.

Alexandra Bayazitova