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Ministerial Candidate Andrijanič: “Digitalisation Is One of the Key Solutions for Becoming a Modern and Advanced Country”

The first candidate for the position of minister without a Portfolio in charge of digitalisation, Mark Boris Andrijanič, had a hearing in the National Assembly on Friday. Andrijanič has been observing for years how Slovenia lags behind in the field of digitalisation, so he believes that we need to implement several new solutions in this field. “Digitalisation is one of the key solutions for becoming a modern and advanced country, for creating a land of opportunity in which all generations will be able to use their talents and live a dignified life,” said Andrijanič. At his presentation before the National Assembly, he also presented the solutions that the Ministry will undertake if he is confirmed as a minister.

The candidate for the position of Minister of Digitalisation, Mark Boris Andrijanič, emphasised at Friday’s presentation that he had watched with bitterness in his heart how Slovenia was lagging behind. “How the countries that were significantly less developed than us 30 years ago are catching up with us and even overtaking us,” he said. He also emphasised that the United States and China are increasing their advantage over Europe. Andrijanič believes that the global technology competition brings great advantages for small countries and does not spare the slow and indecisive. “That is also why so many young people are moving abroad.”

Andrijanič sees digitalisation as a key solution for increasing Slovenia’s competitiveness. “Digitalisation is one of the key solutions for becoming a modern and advanced country, for creating a land of opportunity in which all generations will be able to harness their talents and live a dignified life,” he said. He pointed out that digitalisation is a powerful tool with which we can make life much easier for all citizens and which also adds value per employee, leading to higher wages and better pensions.

Some time ago, the government established the Strategic Council for Digitalisation, which currently consists of 47 outstanding experts from various fields with rich experience from abroad. Andrijanič further pointed out that the richest and most successful countries in the world are the ones that are most digitalised. “With the aim of bringing Slovenia into the group of these, more successful countries, I took over the leadership of the Strategic Council for Digitalisation in April,” he explained. He also pointed out the legislative package of measures they had prepared. To date, the latter has been supported by more than 30 different organisations – universities, pensioners’ associations, municipalities and entrepreneurs.

As the minister, he promises solutions that will simplify the lives of citizens In the area of public administration, Andrijanič will focus on solutions that will simplify the lives of citizens and save them time when dealing with matters that involve the state. These solutions include an e-building permit, an informative calculation of child allowances and a tax standing order. They also want to digitalise the entire process of obtaining a building permit. “We will do this with the help of a web portal that will have the option to submit and monitor each application. This web portal will enable the individual to see at what stage of the process an individual application is,” he added.

As Andrijanič further explained, in the informative calculation of child allowances, following the example of the informative calculation of personal income tax, they want to enable parents to not have to fill out the same form every year with data that the state already keeps. In the case of a tax standing order, they want to enable the payment of tax and other liabilities to the state directly from a bank account. As Minister of Digitalisation, he will take action in healthcare that will save lives with the help of advanced technologies and save millions in public procurement, he said. These actions include the introduction of telemedicine for chronic and oncology patients, the e-Health mobile application and e-procurement.

The elderly can look forward to e-care in the future When it comes to the e-care for the elderly, they want to provide systemic funding for e-care services at home for the 5,000 most vulnerable elderly, disabled and patients with severe chronic illnesses, with the help of already developed and tested tools in this field. The mobile application would allow you to order medical examinations and communicate with medical staff. “We want to establish a mobile application, through which the individual will have easy access to their own health data, health certificates, referrals and prescriptions,” he added. He also sees the introduction of the mandatory use of the digital system of joint public procurement in healthcare as extremely important. “This would enable the uniform and transparent ordering of medical devices and medicines with the obligatory use of the e-auction.”

Entrepreneurs can also expect many changes. The Ministry wants to introduce a one-time annual e-reporting of companies to state bodies through a single state platform and a single form containing data for all key bodies (Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia – FURS, Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services – Ajpes, the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, the Bank of Slovenia, …). “We want to digitalise as many of the notary services as possible. We want to introduce the possibility of providing as many services as possible remotely, which is especially important for foreign investors and Slovenians living abroad,” Andrijanič explained. Following the example of the Netherlands, an income tax relief would be introduced for domestic and foreign experts who return or immigrate to Slovenia for employment in the field of engineering and other deficient professions with added value.

Digital vouchers for the promotion of lifelong learning At the presentation, Andrijanič also highlighted that they want to introduce digital vouchers, which would be intended for the promotion of lifelong learning in the field of digital skills and would initially be intended for senior citizens – free of charge. He sees the preparation of the curricular framework of basic knowledge of computer science and informatics in education as the first step, and then the necessary changes to the curriculum would be prepared on this basis. “At the same time, the existing curricula are being updated, which are not yet adapted for the education of children and adolescents in the digital age,” he added. Andrijanič also sees the obligatory introduction of the subject of computer science and informatics as an important contribution to the entire society. “In this area, Slovenia lags far behind other countries, including Croatia.”

The Ministry of Digitalisation will also take care of connecting Slovenian and American educational and research institutions and ensure the transfer of knowledge in the field of digitalisation of public administration, health care and education. Following the example of Denmark, a Slovenian representative office will be established in San Francisco, which will promote Slovenia as an attractive investment destination and open doors for Slovenian companies in the Silicon Valley and other American technology centres. The office will also manage a unified base of Slovenian experts abroad. In addition, system funds would be provided for various forms of business, educational, research and other activities aimed at connecting Slovenian abroad with their homeland.

The establishment of the institute could attract many foreign and domestic experts In partnership with the American Slovenian Education Foundation and the Association of Slovenes Educated Abroad, an office will be established that will provide information, administrative and career support to Slovenian professionals who wish to return to Slovenia. The new institute could grow from the International Research Centre under the auspices of UNESCO, attracting the world’s leading technology company to a strategic partnership or co-ownership. Many of the most developed countries in the world have a similar government service or even a ministry. “The service will lead the preparation of key documents in the field of digitalisation and monitor their implementation,” he explained.

“As soon as the government approved the first package of measures, we started the coordination process among the departments,” he added at the end. As he noted, it soon became apparent that a team would be required for this. The first step in this direction is the establishment of the Government Office for Digital Transformation. “If I will be confirmed as the minister today, I will do my best to make digitalisation our national priority and a project that connects the whole society and politics. It is a team sport in which we can only win if we stick together,” he also promised at the hearing.

Sara Rančigaj

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