- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Conference Explores Role of Digitization in Reducing Public Budget Deficits
Prague, Czech Republic – October 18, 2023 – The Institute for Public Discussion is set to host a thought-provoking conference titled “Can digitization of public administration lead to a reduction in the budget deficit?” on October 16th at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. This event aims to delve into the potential of digitization to address the budgetary challenges faced by governments, especially in light of recent global disruptions.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, public budgets worldwide have come under tremendous strain. Rising prices, economic uncertainties, and the need to identify savings have become paramount issues. Consequently, the conference seeks to explore whether the accelerated digitization of state administration can offer a viable solution to reduce deficits in public finances while enhancing efficiency in public services.
The Czech Republic, grappling with one of the lowest GDP growth rates among EU member states, is actively exploring pro-growth measures to stimulate its economy. The National Economic Council of the Government (NERV) and the government itself view rapid digitization of state administration, improved data management, and the application of new technologies as vital components of this strategy.
While the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) published annually by the European Commission underscores the need for progress in the Czech Republic’s digitization efforts, the country continues to lag behind. In the latest DESI ranking, the Czech Republic placed 20th out of 27 EU member states. Challenges persist regarding the digital skills of citizens and the underutilization of technology in businesses. The country also faces a shortage of experts in information and communication technologies, both in the public and private sectors.
On a positive note, there has been a notable increase in eGovernment adoption. The percentage of Czech citizens engaging with government services online has risen from 53% in 2018 to 68% in recent data. Digitization has facilitated the submission of more income tax returns electronically in 2022, surpassing traditional paper forms.
The conference seeks to address several critical questions, including practical examples of digitization projects in tax, social, or municipal sectors, both in the Czech Republic and globally. It will also explore the potential of leveraging emerging technologies such as quantum computing and advanced data processing to enhance digital public services. Additionally, discussions will revolve around the readiness of governments to embark on further digitization projects and the cybersecurity measures in place.
These issues highlight the importance of digitization in reshaping the fiscal landscape and improving public services. The conference, organized by the Institute for Public Discussion, aspires to provide insight into these pressing matters, fostering dialogue and offering a vision for a digitally transformed future.
Article by Prague Forum