Administration is lagging behind: the federal government wants to save drastically on digitization

administration lags behind
The federal government wants to save drastically on digitization

Many administrative services should have been digitized long ago last year. Now it also looks bad for this year, because the traffic light wants to save. Schleswig-Holstein is already withdrawing some projects due to the narrow thaler – this also applies to the application for housing benefit.

According to a report, the austerity measures within the federal government are jeopardizing the project anchored in the coalition agreement to digitize state services and make them available to citizens online. According to the current state of budget planning, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for this area, will only provide a fraction of the financial resources that it is currently spending, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ) reported.

Accordingly, 3.3 million euros have been booked for the coming year for the digitization of administration and administrative services – compared to 377 million euros this year. The cuts primarily affect administrative services that are provided under the Online Access Act (OZG) should have been digitized by the end of 2022, as the newspaper further reported.

Savings are also being made on the “Digital Identities” project, which aims to enable citizens to identify themselves legally on the Internet, the “FAZ” reported further. It is considered the key for many services not only of the state but also of the economy, for example from banks or telecommunications providers. Within the federal government’s digital strategy, it is considered a lighthouse project that is to be implemented by 2025.

Contradictions about budget and funding

A spokesman for the Federal Digital Ministry told the newspaper: “We will not have any financial problems with digitization in the coming budget. Funding is secured for the central lever projects of the digital strategy.” The Federal Ministry of Finance pointed out that the individual departments are basically free to “set political priorities” within their spending framework.

As a result of the tight budget, the federal states no longer receive any money from the federal government for the implementation of their projects within the framework of the Online Access Act. According to the report, Schleswig-Holstein has already drawn consequences and canceled the agreements with the federal government on the creation of several OZG projects, for example on housing benefits.

“By the federal government’s unequivocal refusal to continue to participate financially in the implementation of the OZG, the federal government has withdrawn an essential business basis from the agreement,” said the head of the Kiel State Chancellery, Dirk Schrödter, the “FAZ”. Therefore, there is no need for Schleswig-Holstein to maintain its own commitments. According to the report, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has not yet commented on the savings.

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