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Estonia's e-service maintenance underfunded, needs extra €60 million yearly

Maintenance of Estonia's e-services is critically underfunded.
Maintenance of Estonia's e-services is critically underfunded. Source: Stanislav Moshkov/Õhtuleht

Altogether €30-60 million per year is lacking for the maintenance and updating of Estonia's e-services in the next few years, daily Postimees reports.

It was revealed in the submission of Estonian ministries' IT budgetary needs for the next four years that another €240 million, or €60 million per year, is needed on top of the already planned sum.

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Deputy Secretary General for Communications and State Information Systems Siim Sikkut said that the maintenance of information systems, ICT infrastructure and in part also critical information systems, upon which public services rely, has been underfunded in the public sector budget for years already.

"Estonia has had and continues to have money from the structural funds for purchasing new devices and developing new systems, but the things purchased and developed already need constant maintenance, updating and development to be reliable and keep up with the times," Sikkut said.

According to Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior Lauri Lugna, the internal analysis indicates that the software that is the basis for Estonia's internal security has by now been fully depreciated to the extent of 44 percent and is working several years over the stipulated deadline.

"We have not satisfied basic needs; we are literally living on a ticking bomb," Lugna said, referring to the fact that all of the state's information systems have been bound together into a one entity of vital importance and that one's crash may prove fatal to the entire system.

Sikkut noted that the two ministries hae reviewed all ICT strategies and additional funding applications of all areas of government and have reached the conclusion that it is absolutely vital to increase the state's IT budget by €30 million per year.

The ministries themselves have assessed the full deficit of IT funding to equal approximately €60 million per year. "But we must take into account all areas of savings as well as the capability of the application of funding — this kind of leap would not be doable all at once," Sikkut said. "Approximately €30 million per year is the sum that would ensure the durability and development of Estonia's e-state."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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