Banja Luka – Director of the Union of Employers of the Republic of Srpska, Sasa Acic, in an interview for the print edition of “Nezavisne novine” for February 24, 2021, spoke about the digitalization of the economy and administration.
The interview with the journalist of “Nezavisne novine”, Uros Vukic, is broadcast in its entirety.
Sasa Acic, director of the Union of Employers of Republika Srpska, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina is at the very beginning when it comes to digitalization and that the economy in BiH will be digitalized first, which will eventually have to be followed by the administration and education.
He said that a potential problem in digitalization, especially of the administration, is that maybe some workers would lose their jobs, however, as he emphasizes, digitalization is a chance.
“In the next ten years, more than 70 percent of today’s occupations or job descriptions will disappear and in that period they will be created as new. “Digitalization of the administration should not be seen as a loss of resources, but a chance for people to improve their competencies,” Acic said in an interview with “Nezavisne”.
NN: Where is Bosnia and Herzegovina today when it comes to digitalization and e-government concerning the region and the EU?
ACIC: If we ranked from one to ten, I would say between two and three, and we are just at the beginning. The digitalization of the economy and our economy will go much faster than the digitalization of the education system and administration.
NN: Can the digitalization of the economy go without the digitalization of the administration?
ACIC: Yes, but we hope that later the administration will adapt to digital technologies and the digital economy.
NN: Why is that so? We have been talking about e-government for 10 years, but little is being done. In particular, we have a situation with an electronic signature where the law was passed in 2006, but that signature has not yet come to life in practice.
ACIC: As far as I could understand, this is a political problem. For us, the status quo is unacceptable and it needs to be addressed because due to the backlog in the digitalization of the economy, administration, and education, we have an outflow of the population towards countries and societies where digitalization is at a much higher level.
NN: How much does it make it difficult for BiH companies to do business because we are not digitalized, because we do not have e-government, etc.?
ACIC: There is some progress with the tax authorities in BiH, primarily the Tax Administration of the Republika Srpska, but also in the Indirect Taxation Authority. In the next few years, we can expect full digitalization in that segment between the RS Tax Administration, the BiH Indirect Taxation Administration and employers, but other bodies such as the administration and courts will have to work faster and more decisively and go into the direction of digitalization of their services. What appears to be a problem here is the potentially larger number of workers who would lose their jobs because the procedures would be digitized and the worker would not be needed, but that would lead to the fact that there is no possibility for the administration to remain silent, which is a big problem for us. Also, deadlines would be respected in terms of issuing certain permits, but also everything else.
NN: So, the digitalization of the administration would lead to many people losing their jobs.
ACIC: The International Labor Organization points out to us that digitalization is a chance. In the next ten years, more than 70 percent of today’s occupations or job descriptions will disappear and will be created as new in that period. The digitalization of administration should not be seen as a waste of resources, but as a chance for people to improve their competencies.
NN: To what extent is digitalization accompanied by education in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina?
ACIC: At this moment, Kovid has had a lot of influence in terms of the realization of teaching, and a certain step forward has been made there, and we believe that the whole story should be digitized in that segment. It is necessary to equip schools with 4G and 5G networks, digitalize classrooms and it would be very important to form a central knowledge base that would communicate with all other achievements and similar databases in the world.
NN: How digitalized are companies today and what does their digitalization depend on the most – whether from the desire and strategy of the owners or from the need to adapt to the market in the world and the region?
ACIC: It all depends on the company to the company and its ability and perception of how much it needs digitalization, then on the situation on the market and the connection of employers with those markets. At the moment, several employers want to automate all work processes as much as possible. The key reason why employers do not go in the direction of digitalization is the lack of labor force, in the outflow towards EU countries. First, the economy will be digitalized due to our connection with the EU market, and that will speed up the processes in both the administration and the education system.
Source: Nezavisne novine