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COMPUTERWORLD | Articles | Government Policies
27 Feb
2009
 
 

Great ICT Projects in Bulgaria realized in 2008, slowing the IT spending in 2009 is to await

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The current global financial crisis is about to delay the decisions regarding new ICT projects in Bulgarian economy, thus leading to a significant slowdown of the IT investments in the country.

Tania Batchvarova

The severe global recession will negatively influence on the IT spending in key verticals such as the banking industry and financial services, manufacturing, construction and building, real estate business, according to the latest analysis by IDC Bulgaria. Still, the rest of the economic segments such as telecommunications, retail, and utilities most probably will not slow down their growth rates. The one and only segment that will retain its high level of IT investments, independently of the crisis, is the state administration. Instead of cutting down or slowing the IT spendings, the Bulgarian government will have to increase its ICT budgets in order to achieve all engagements in terms of the EU requirements.

In 2008 some important IT Project in the public sector in Bulgaria were finished.

The Bulgarian Emergency Calls System 112

Under EU rules, member states have to make sure that emergency services can be called free of charge with the single European emergency number 112. Since 30th of September 2008 the Bulgarian system covers 100 % of the Bulgarian territory, i.e. the number 112 is available from each point of the country. The citizens of all regions can use single number 112, when medical help is needed or road accidents, fires, terrorist attacks, averages, crisis, or other incidents involving human or material losses occur. The line is 24/7 and free-of-charge.

All centers of the National System 112 are equipped with the most modern computer and communicational devices. The solution was implemented in 9 months by the Bulgarian system integrator Kontrax in partnership with Siemens Enterprise Communications, assigned by Ministry of State Policy for Disasters and Accidents.

The system won the big prize „IT Project of the Year" in category „Public organizations" at the 5th consecutive edition of Computerworld Bulgaria's Annual IT Project Awards, supported by DSK Bank. Traditionally companies, enterprises and institutions in Bulgaria, implementing modern IT infrastructure and using ICT solutions for business process automation participate in the contest. Each of the projects was presented in detail on the pages of Computerworld in the "IT project" column.

The big Award in the second category named "Corporate projects" went to the project „E-Shop 2be". This e-shop is based on the innovative SOA technology from Oracle and is integrated with the SAP ERP System managing the 2be warehouses and the trade processes.

The competition's jury included representatives of KPMG, the State ICT Agency, BASSCOM, BAIT, Project management association, ЕSI Center Bulgaria, OTP DSK Bank, and ICT Мedia.

Healthcare Sector.

The long-awaited information system of the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is fully functional since January 2009. A consortium between BULL S.A. (France), SIVECO (Romania) and Makabi Health Care Services (Israel) was building up this new information system.

NHIF is independent public institution separated from the structure of the social healthcare system and has its own bodies of management. The NHIF budget is separated from the state budget. The National Assembly on an annual basis votes it. The NHIF Budget Act determines the amount of the health insurance contribution.

The pilot project for a National healthcare portal and implementation of personal electronic health records for 40,000 white-collar workers started in 2008 will be finished in March 2009. InterComponent Ware (ICW) via its Bulgarian and German offices together with the local system integrator Kontrax are installing the system. The electronic health record is not just a tool for assisting the communication between patients and doctors and the provision of medical services. It also enables every citizen to manage his/her own health.

292,292 BGN (appr. 150,000 Euros) is the price offered by the Bulgarian system integrator CNSys for

upgrading the system of the Bulgarian e-government,

regarding the needs of the new e-heathcare portal. CNSys was the only company to participate in the public tender for the upgrade. The goal of this project is to provide the systems for the National Electronic Healthcare Portal project, including personal health records of 40,000 civil servants. Earlier, in September 2007, CNSys was the only participant in the public tender for supporting the first, main part of the Electronic Government system.

Bulgaria is preparing to be among the top 40 or even top 35 countries in the list of the next global e-government readiness report in 2009, according to a new statement by Youri Alkalay, head of the E-government department at the Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform. Several major centralized projects that were carried out recently are expected to contribute for the rapid climb-up. Among these are the recent enforcement of the Electronic Government Act, the start of the electronic payments system of the state administration, etc. Bulgaria was placed No 43 in the latest global e-government readiness report that was published in 2008. Alkalay believes that this position is quite low and due to incorrect data about the Internet penetration in Bulgaria.

The queue management system,

financed by the Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform was finished in 2008 too.

The first stage includes the installation of the software in 21 offices of the National Revenue Agency in all the country, in 7 offices of the Traffic Police and in 12 units of the "Personal Identity Documents" at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After a public procurement procedure the Bulgarian company Monicomp was assigned the contract amounting 914 395 BGN excluding VAT. According the statistic data, the daily average number of the persons using the services of the NRA offices equipped with these systems, is 297.

The unified platform for electronic payments

from citizens and companies to the central and local administration started working at the end of 2008. The system was developed by the Bulgarian Datamax, the creator and operator of the first Bulgarian electronic payments system - еPay.bg.

Bulgarians also can now pay their utilities bills through sending an SMS due to the newest service by Datamax AD - ePayGSM. To use the service customers need to have a valid mobile number and an active banking card. The system makes possible payments to 60 different providers: utilities companies, telecoms, financial services providers. There are 500,000 potential users of the new service, according to George Marinov, director, ePay.bg.

On 9 th of October

Bulgarian National Bank (BNB)

announced the successful realization of the project for implementation of the SAP's integrated information system. SAP is the third information system (after Montran and TREMA) of a world's leading provider of business software implemented in BNB. The implementation is according the IT strategy of the bank for development of the IT infrastructure based on the leading software solutions in the segment and using the best practices in the sector.

ICT in schools

15 million BGN was the budget of the national program "ICT in schools" for 2008". The same amount is envisaged for the programs "Fuller inclusion of children and pupils" (module „Optimization of the school network through transportation of pupils to the state and municipal schools") and "Modernization of the schools' material base". 6.7 mln. BGN will be granted to the program for energy efficient modernization of the school facilities". Thus the overall financing of the 4 national programs in the secondary education comprises of 51 mln. BGN. The update of the finances is made every year by the government.

Computers for municipal administrations

The Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform provided over 2700 desktop and mobile computer systems for the regional and municipal administrations, municipalities and other administrative structures. The overall cost of the equipment is about 2,800,000 BGN. This is the largest initiative of MSAAR toward modernization of the administration equipment in the whole country, and the Ministry continues to direct its efforts toward bringing the infrastructure in smaller populated areas up-to-date.

1172 desktops and 564 notebooks were given to the municipalities, 326 desktop configurations and 168 laptops are intended for the regional administrations, and the rest of the computers were distributed among other administrative centers in the country. Providing computer equipment is a part of MSAAR's policy for modernization of the state administration, judicial system and institutions that provide social services.

Big video surveillance system in city of Sliven

Within the framework of a 4-year project key places on the territory of the city of Sliven - all town entrances and exits, the municipal market, crossroads, schools, kindergartens and all other important public places - will be included in the video surveillance system which will follow the situation in the city twenty-four hours a day. The solution is entirely based on high resolution IP cameras Axis, so that in the image analysis details can be seen - faces, cars registration numbers, etc. The advantages of the video surveillance are developed in the rich functionality of the implemented software platform NetAvis. Launched a year ago, the project which is being carried out by Videocomponents Bulgaria Ltd. is now at an advanced stage and good results can already be seen.

The Bulgarian iCentres Project

was selected among the finalists from more than 2,000 rivals, participating in the most popular category - IT Education, where approximately 70 % of the applicants were competing. Impressed by the achievements of the project, the jury invited the iCentres Project to participate in the Challenge Week where the project was presented to the other finalists.

The Public Procurement Agency (PPA) launched a new free service on 1 June 2008 -

E-Sender.

PPA now can automatically send the received assigners' documents to the Publication Office of the Official Newspaper of the EU in Luxembourg, which is the analogue of the Bulgarian State Gazette. PPA was registered as an "E-Sender" by the European Office on 15 May. Bulgarian assigners are obligated to publish the announces for public tenders which exceed certain level of the value of the procurements not only in the online versions of State Gazette and Register of Public Procurement Register but in the Official Gazette of the European Commission.

Registering motor vehicles online

will soon be possible in Bulgaria after the government approved a new draft Roads Movement Act, aiming to reduce the weight of the administrative services for citizens and business. As a part of a PHARE project, a Web based information system was developed to improve the basic administrative services for issuing personal ID documents, registering motor vehicles and submitting petitions regarding crimes. The electronic service also provides an option for verification of number plates as well as certificates for registered motor vehicle.

More than 5 billion Euro have to be invest in

the water supplies utilities branch

in Bulgaria during the following 15 years, due to a new law, witch is supposed to foster the dynamic modernization of the companies engaged with water supplies, including modern IT systems monitoring, control, management and improvement of the services. Mr. Dimcho Mihalevski, Deputy Minister of the Regional Development and Public Works, said in a statement that half of the amount of the investments is supposed to be made by the private sector.

A specialized information system, intended for

monitoring the business regulatory regimes,

administered by local authorities - RRObserver, was started for the first time in Sopot. The web based system is a unified software which allows for carrying out in real time requests for information about the administration of the various regulatory regimes (licensing, registration, permissive and notification). The system uses data received by electronic means from the records system of the respective municipality. RRObserver (www.rr.bia-bg.com) gives an opportunity to trace out all regulatory regimes administered by the respective municipality. The product allows for evaluation of the effectiveness of the administrative procedures, as well as the activities of the administration related to processing requests for starting and developing a business.

Integrated IS in Commission for Protection the Competition

On December 1st 2008 the chairman of the Commission for Protection the Competition (CPC) signed a contract with the civil association "Aksior- Kontrax" for "Development and implementation of a software for betterment of the integrated information system of CPC and ensuring its connection to the public electronic register and it's transformation into integrated system for management of the work process in CPC", "Development and implementation of a software for the public electronic register of the CPC, integrated into the Web site of the Commission and ensuring capacity for connectivity with the integrated system of CPC" and "Design of an Internet site for the CPC along with the ensuring it's connection with the electronic register and with capability for electronic filing the documents and giving licenses for software's work$. The contact's value is 579 704 leva (VAT not included). The implementation of the contract must be finished by the end of May 2009.

The Special Pledges Registry (SPR)

at the Ministry of Justice will accept enquiries for entry or deletion from the registry in e-form and by e-path. The change in the Law for special pledges was voted on Council of ministers' meeting on July 17th. It also allows the distance checks, the issuance of verifications and certifications in e-form and their e-delivery. The regulation and conditions for the new services will be mirrored in the changes in the organization statute of the Registry. The changes create preconditions for improving the register and its transformation in a modern electronic data base covering the norms and standards for the EU - accessible, quick, cheap, transparent and reliable registration and giving opportunely and reliable information. This will allow the integration of the Registry in the future Common registry centre, as according to the goals of the governmental Strategy for the creation of Central registry of corporate bodies and of Common registry centre. The change also expands the opportunity for the Registry's financing and guaranteeing the rational minimum of means for the further development of the register as a data base corresponding with the European trends and standards without additional subsidy within the State budget law.

11 projects for 1,5 million Euro were approved for financing for 1 year with the support of

the EUGA program.

EUGA started in October 2007 as Мicrosoft's initiative. Back then leading companies, public organizations and institutions in the country joined efforts for create a consortium supporting the SMEs on their applying for European financing. For a period of 1 year 47 projects applied for approval in the various operative programs divisions, and 11 of them received green light. For the same period Bulgarian EUGA team made over 150 consultations on different projects. An example for successful project is the one of Metatron, won under the Competitiveness grant program. It is for technological modernization, including investments in ERP system and production equipment. Using the financing granted, the company will optimize its resources, raise the production's volume, improve the marketing-related activities, etc.

The State ICT Agency will be responsible for the creation of

INSPIRE,

he Council of ministers decided. The government accepted the Program for insurance of spatial DB envisaging in the year to come for Bulgaria to prepare and accept the necessary rules and mechanisms for new type of public policy, connected to the collection, storage, update, interaction and delivery of information through integrated spatial DB. The program envisages the identification of the organizations, owning spatial data, the preparation of lists with the Bulgarian representatives in the INSPIRE structures and the creation of a national coordinator for public data in the network. Analysis of the Bulgarian legislation, treating the spatial data, along with proposals for changes, will be made. A national INSPIRE Gateway is envisaged to be created.

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