Members of the board of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications ((Eesti Infotehnoloogia ja Telekommunikatsiooni Liit / ITL) met with Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu to explore ways in which the ICT sector can support vital areas such as food and trade during the crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Andre Krull, president of ITL said: "It is paramount to map out how the ICT sector can help other vital areas, such as the food industry, trade or other sectors requiring rapid changes to exit the crisis."
"We discussed financial instruments and support measures for product development, which would be of help to those companies that are really prepared to carry out changes in their production and to that end are seeking to implement innovative solutions as well as facilitate the retraining of their workers. We agreed that we'd provide input in this regard to Enterprise Estonia."
Another topic discussed at the meeting was the compilation of joint themes for export regarding the efficient shock absorption capability of an e-state. The experience of living in a digital state has transformed from a national brand into a survival guide, Krull said.
"How can a state continue functioning in a contactless world where the threat of infection has paralyzed regular functions? Essential services have remained available to residents of Estonia also during the crisis, school activities continue and other processes are also working. Other states, too, will need to pick their focus areas which they are to develop further in order to better cope with the next possible crises. We can help them," Krull said.
The president of ITL noted that the issue of cutting public sector spending has been discussed extensively.
"If possible, running costs should at present be reduced - efficiency and reorganization of activities where needed remain important, but long-term investments, including public procurement should not be subjected to cuts."
Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu said that specialized organizations have an important role in communicating the needs and prospects in their field.
"Our continuous communication with ITL is a good example of functional sectoral cooperation, which is invaluable in the present situation. To ensure successful policy making and measure design as well as for us to be able to identify patterns and signals, it is crucial that we receive direct feedback from sectors. We are currently focusing on how to better cope in the present situation as well as on how to exit the crisis in the best way possible," the minister said.
Editor: Helen Wright