According to BelTA Belarus needs powerful intellectual strategic headquarters to develop the digital economy.
First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Turchin made the statement as he introduced new Communications and Informatization Minister Konstantin Shulgan to the ministry personnel on 20 August, BelTA has learned. Alexander Turchin said: “The key job of the new minister and the entire ministry is to overcome the momentum of individual agencies and economy branches. Instead of the communications ministry taking care of its own bailiwick the country needs a powerful strategic HQ to develop the digital economy on the national scale. Infrastructure is only part of your job. The development of fiber optic networks, 4G, digital services is, of course, important. But it is only a small part of your work. You should primarily focus on digitizing the entire economy of the country. Figuratively speaking, the scope of your job should range from Industry 4.0 in the production sector and precision farming in agriculture to creating a full-value digital healthcare system in Belarus. Your ministry should come up with a clear-cut, transparent, and concrete strategy for digitizing all the other branches and the entire economy as a whole. In addition to working out the theory you will have to push for it in practice.” The first deputy prime minister of Belarus stressed that digitalization should not be limited to electronic document flow. A complete switchover to new digital technologies and business models is the key. “Top government officials and I in particular will help you accomplish that. In fact we are going to accomplish it together. Digital economy is a number one priority for the government and the country as a whole. In turn I can guarantee that digitalization efforts are part of my job description and working with your ministry will come first,” said Alexander Turchin. Alexander Turchin noted: “A year and a half ago the president declared the policy towards building an IT country. Skeptics assumed it was just a buzzword. But you know that the head of state always acts on his words. The president signed the revolutionary Digital Economy Development Ordinance. Belarus was talked about favorably all over the world after that. Our Hi-Tech Park works very well now. Last year its export skyrocketed and exceeded $1 billion for the first time ever. This year we've seen a surge in the number of new resident companies and an even larger increase in export beyond all the forecasts. The head of state mentioned all of that in his address to the nation and the parliament. One can say those are the first steps towards building an IT country. It is now time for the next stage. The rest of the economy should try to keep up with the Hi-Tech Park and the IT industry.” This is why the Digital Economy Development Council has been set up and the head of state has given instructions to consider the establishment of a digital economy ministry. “The appointment of the new minister – Konstantin Konstantinovich Shulgan – is part of the same policy. He is not a novice as far as the IT industry is concerned. He has directly taken care of informatization for the last few years. It is the Operations and Analysis Center that has been entrusted with creating a digital government. The authority was vested in the National Digital Services Center. Meanwhile, the Operations and Analysis Center was busy creating a common platform for government agencies,” noted First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Turchin. Konstantin Shulgan added: “The tasks mentioned by the first deputy prime minister are understandable. Work to accomplish them has been going on up till now. We would like to accelerate this work so that everyone could see the results. First of all, we would like to create an infrastructure to provide digital services – the digital government – which will enable the digital transformation of the economy.” Konstantin Shulgan served as an engineer in a Belarusian army unit and a senior officer in the State Information Security Center under the Belarusian Defense Ministry in 1989-1995. Later on he served as a senior officer, a key specialist, a team chief, and a department chief in the State Information Security Center under the Security Council of Belarus. In 2008-2013 Konstantin Shulgan served as an officer in various posts in the Operations and Analysis Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus. He was appointed deputy head of the Operations and Analysis Center in April 2016.
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