State Projects Soak Up Half of IT Development Aid, Audit Finds
An assessment by the State Audit Office has found that the government has been spending 50 percent of the EU funding it receives for IT development on developing its own information systems, leaving less for other intended beneficiaries.
The audit examined how the state has so far been using the 62 million euros in EU structural funds it is due to receive over the 2007 to 2013 period for developing an information society. In addition to the public sector, businesses and citizens are also meant to be recipients of the aid.
Auditors also found imbalances in the way money was being distributed through grants. For example, in a grant application round specifically targeting local governments and NGOs, those groups ended up with only 15 percent of the funds.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications generally agreed with the audit's conclusions, but stated that the work to develop state information systems would be carried out in the private sector and the projects would thus contribute to new knowledge and expertise there.
In its response, the Finance Ministry pointed out that the audit only covered the 2007 to 2010 period and said that a number of new projects for the private sector had been started since then. It also said that the public sector projects would have obvious benefits for both businesses and individuals.