This report provides an overview of e-government services in Poland and information on current and upcoming projects sponsored by public administration entities, including central and regional governments as well as self-government organizations. The e-government development projects represent a great business potential for American suppliers across the information technology sector, although selling to government usually demands more thorough knowledge of the local market and its requirements.
The European i2010 initiative and Lisbon Strategy settled the goals for the development of information society and fighting with digital exclusion throughout Europe, thus forcing investment in e-government projects. Most projects are developed with the support of EU funding, which availability greatly adds to the opportunities in this area.
The new government established in November 2007, after parliamentary elections, decided to prepare a new IT strategy, which would take into consideration the progress made so-far, re-evaluate the needs and resources and alter some of the priorities to meet the goals settled in the European i2010 initiative and Lisbon Strategy. This new plan, which was supposed to be ready in June 2008, is now expected to be completed in late 2008. As a result, some IT projects are delayed, some on-going tenders cover downsized or partial projects and most tenders are expected in early 2009.
The government shows a substantial change in the approach to IT projects in the public administration seeking more external expertise instead of developing projects internally. The government has also been working on updating the law on e-signature, as the current very restrictive regulations are seen as one of the major factors discouraging the use of e-government services. The government also plans to take an action on the Public-Private Partnership regulations, which, although form the base for such activities, are hardly used in practice.
To make up for the slow progress so far, it is expected that several IT projects would take off next year, especially those serving the needs of central government and self-government administration.
The value of the future public administration projects is estimated at over $6 billion by 2011.The upcoming projects include:
• RUM – the Public Healthcare IT system
• Land Register System
• E-PUAP (continuation) – The feasibility study for the Second Phase is under way
• Pl.id – electronics identification card, upon completion of Pesel2 project
• Electronic supervision for condemned persons (under way)
• E-voting – MSWiA is working on the concept of the system, verifying the technical aspects, especially the security and voting anonymity. A political decision on this project is expected in the future.
As a part of strategy to enable access to e-services, the government is investing in information kiosks and public internet access points. In addition, some local governments have decided to invest in wireless technologies to provide free internet access for local users.
The development of e-administration projects is supported by EU financing, which can cover up to 75% of project cost, depending on the program. The funds are administered by Polish administration (Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Economy or appointed entities) and are available to project sponsors who can apply for the funds under a specific program. While American suppliers cannot benefit from the funds directly, their sales opportunities will increase as the funds will spawn more IT investment projects.
In 2007-2013 EU $6.4 billion available in 2007-2013 for projects linked with the development of IT society in Poland. A total amount of $29 billion is available for regional development and projects at that time.
The upcoming Poland’s EU presidency in 2011 and EURO 2012 soccer games in Poland and Ukraine are seen as the milestones urging the Polish government to speed up slowly moving projects.
By Maria Kowalska