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Government IT chief: Information systems chronically underfunded for years

Government IT Manager Siim Sikkut.
Government IT Manager Siim Sikkut. Source: ERR

IT infrastructure has been chronically underfunded and money needs to be spent maintaining what already exists, rather than on developing new services, the Government's Chief Information Office Siim Sikkut said on TV show Esimene Stuudio.

Speaking to Johannes Tralla, Sikkut said he attended a government meeting on Thursday to discuss, among other things, additional needs for Estonian IT systems. 

Sikkut, who is also Deputy Secretary-General for IT and Telecoms, explained that "€35 to €40 million a year is needed to maintain the e-government, with a minimum of €27 to €30 million".

Replying to Tralla's question whether Estonia had a chronic problem of underfunding of information systems, Sikkut said that it had arisen over the years.

"Our burden and baggage is that we have had quite a lot of money, European money, for example, to build new services. We have also added a lot [to what we have] over the years. Today, usually, people do everything they can do digitally. Officials also work digitally. We do not have paper processes left, except a few exceptions.

"But when looking at investments, we have not looked at whether there is enough money in the wallet to keep these things constantly evolving, innovating, and up-to-date. Likewise, the technology, the hardware, the infrastructure that goes down. This has been a problem for a while," he added.

E-residents bring one million euros a month to the Treasury

Sikkut also spoke about e-residents in the broadcast. According to him, Estonia currently has more than 50,000 active e-residents, who have created about 8,000 active companies.

The purpose of the e-residency program was to bring additional income to the Estonian economy, which has proven itself well, Sikkut said.

"Today we are in a situation where more than one million euros are being added to the treasury every month because of e-residency, as their added value," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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