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SOURCES The real status of the „only delayed NRRP objectives”, those on…

SOURCES The real status of the „only delayed NRRP objectives”, those on the government cloud / If not fulfilled, Romania risks losing half a billion euros of EU money

The Minister for European Investment and Projects announced on Wednesday 30 March that only two milestones will be delayed from the 31 March deadline – the timetable assumed in the NRRP. Both at the Ministry of Research and Digitalization (MCID).

These include the government cloud analysis and the call for SME projects: „Grant support for digital skills”.

G4Media has obtained a detailed commentary, from a source in the area of expertise who participated in 2021 in the development of the Digitalization component of the NPRP, regarding the real status of the assumed and unfulfilled objectives.

  • Minister Dan Vîlceanu’s explanations on Wednesday 30 March on the delayed NPRR milestones:

„The first milestone is the completion of the options analysis on the government cloud architecture. It is also related to another bill that the Ministry of Research has to draft and send to Parliament. The second milestone relates to the launch of the call for proposals for digital skills grant support. If you make a guide that does not correspond exactly to what is written in the NRRP, you run the risk, after having spent several hundred million euros, that this money cannot be paid out of the NRRP, but must be supported from the state budget. On the cloud side there are several laws, at least two, that will have to come into force in the coming period. By this milestone the analysis of the government cloud architecture should be completed. This is a very complicated issue. It has to emerge how the cloud is structured and what it will look like. That draft ordinance referred to institutions that are part of the Ministry of Research that have a role… working on this. We had last week an Emergency Ordinance from the Ministry of Research whereby the implementation unit is at the Authority for the Digitalization of Romania, the situation of that task force is clarified.”

  • Explanations provided by G4Media source:

The milestone on the analysis for government cloud development:
„The analysis, the fundamental benchmark for all government cloud decisions and initiatives, was supposed to come up with an ‘assessment report with recommendations’ on how to make the government cloud a reality from a technical and legal point of view,” says the source consulted by G4Media. „The analysis was not optional for the MCID, but it could choose the entity to prepare it (specialized consultant or state authority).

The report of this analysis is, in fact, the milestone of the NRRP with a deadline of 31.03.2022. The regulatory acts that MCID has also published in consultation on the same subject (the legal framework for the governance of cloud services and the interoperability law) should result from the final report of the analysis. These two pieces of legislation are also milestones in the NRRP, but only for Q2/2022 (30.06.2022)”, says the source quoted.

So, according to the source, at the time of the publication of the Emergency Oridinance (OUG) for the Cloud, „the report of the analysis has not been presented and does not exist and has been the subject of recent discussions with representatives of the European Commission”. In short, the OUG for the Cloud (Ordinance on „some measures for the governance system of the government cloud”, published on 16.03.2022), should not have been drafted without the analysis.

„During the time we worked at MCID on this project, our team proposed multiple solutions for conducting the analysis and meeting the milestone: reimbursable consulting services from the World Bank, collaboration with the Commission for cloud expertise, dividing the milestone into several milestones and negotiating with the Commission so as not to affect the NRRP, a partnership between the World Bank and state institutions to conduct the analysis, etc. None of these were completed,” the source said.

It should be recalled that the official reply sent by the MCID to G4Media on March 23 shows that the analysis, i.e. the objective of the NRRP that should be finalised, is only at a preliminary stage.

„A first step in conducting the government cloud analysis is to size the government cloud by inventorying the needs of public institutions that want to migrate or host their internal and public services in the government cloud. (…) To this end, the RDA (Agency for Digitalizationf of Romania, editor note), together with partner institutions, has developed a comprehensive questionnaire that will help to reveal and capture all the information needed to scope the government cloud. It has been distributed to 109 central government institutions and authorities, which will provide complete and consistent information in the process of right-sizing the government cloud on the basis of which institutions will carry out procurement procedures”.

The source consulted by G4Media also highlighted the risks of not meeting government cloud milestones:

„-Stoppage of the PNRR;

– Reallocation by the European Commission of some NRRP investments to other directions (i.e. investments that do not comply with the requirements of the official NRRP documents – in this case, an analysis resulting in a report);
– Implementation of a cloud project that does not coincide with what has been agreed, which would mean that it would no longer be paid for by the NRRP and would remain fully a burden on the state budget (€370-500 million).”

2. SME call for projects milestone: „Support in the form of digital skills grants”.

According to the source consulted by G4Media, the Applicant’s Guide for this call has been drafted but cannot yet be published because several changes have been made to it without the approval of the Competition Council.

G4Media asked The Ministry in early March for information on the status of this milestone but has not received a response.

3. December 2021 milestone on the operationalization of the „task force for the implementation and monitoring of digital transformation reforms and investments” at the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization.

An Emergency Ordinance was approved for this milestone only on March 23rd and published on March 21st in the Official Gazette. It would involve hiring experts: 17 people. Beyond its late adoption, the source consulted by G4Media points out that „the task force is in fact not yet operational, there are no people hired”.

 

Edited for English by Ovidiu H.

 

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