The Czech Republic is not flourishing, says the president of the SAO Miloslav Kala | iRADIO

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Slow modernization of public services, insufficient protection of people in crisis situations and poor awareness of how to behave in such situations. According to the new annual report of the Supreme Audit Office for 2023, these are some of the most important findings about the functioning of the state. “I do not despair over the state of our country, even if – in Havel’s terms – it is not flourishing,” wrote the president of the office, Miloslav Kala, in the beginning of the report.



Money and influence
Prague
9:00 a.m April 2, 2024

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According to Kala, the Czech Republic still lags behind in the modernization of public services, which would make people’s lives easier when dealing with the authorities | Photo: René Volfík | Source: iROZHLAS.cz

The slowness is also reflected in the entire economy. Czech GDP fell last year, we had much higher inflation than the EU average and one of the biggest falls in real wages. “From the point of view of the economy of the state, I would say that we are not exactly a pike in the pond. We are more like a lazy carp somewhere at the bottom and that’s a shame,” said Miloslav Kala in an interview for the Money and influence program of Czech Radio Plus.

Listen to the entire Money and influence of Jana Klímová in the audio recording

The-Czech-Republic-is-not-flourishing-sa

Last year, the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) investigated how the Ministry of the Interior used almost three quarters of a billion crowns for ensuring the protection of people in crisis situations. According to the conclusions of the inspection, weak points remained in the protection system, the state lacks, for example, shelters for people or protective masks or suits in cases of danger. Fundamentally, according to Kala, people lack information.

‘We don’t want to scare’

However, the Ministry of the Interior has previously described the outputs of the SAO in this matter as misleading or rejected them, saying that such accusations are currently dangerous. According to the interior, the usability of the shelters is debatable and the information system is already being worked on. But Kala insists on criticism.

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“We don’t say this to frighten. We say it’s serious after all. And when we spent 720 million crowns, we should have done an analysis at the beginning of what is needed, what path we will take,” pointed out the president of the SAO.

According to him, it is possible to look abroad, where they were able to cope better with informing the country’s inhabitants.

“Sweden publishes a new brochure at every election and sends it together with the ballot papers to every household where people can read it. They thus have basic information about their surroundings, what the risks are, how they can behave,” described one of the examples.

Slow digitization

According to Kala, the Czech Republic still lags behind in the modernization of public services that would make life easier for people when dealing with the authorities. In this part as well, the criticism in the results of the checks went to the programs of the Ministry of the Interior, which also rejected it.

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According to the interior, a number of steps have been taken to improve services in recent years. The central information systems are functioning, the digital identity has been strengthened, the number of data boxes is increasing, and thanks to the citizen’s portal, the administrative burden has been reduced, the Ministry recently wrote to criticize the SAO. “I am happy to confirm that the state’s digital services are increasing. But our view is a bit more complex,” Kala responded.

For example, there were only 455 digital services that refer people to a specific form to submit by last year, which is just six percent of the total number of services selected for digitization. “So great, we’re moving on. Of course, our report evaluates the past, but the pace is a carp, as I said at the beginning,” Kala pointed out.

According to him, the problem is also that the state builds a number of services to suit the state, not the citizens. “When every citizen compares what applications banks have for their clients, what applications are available for delivering mail and shopping via e-shops, I think we see a certain gap,” added the president of the SAO.

Listen to the entire interview in the audio embedded at the top of the article.

Jana Klímová

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