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According to the Netherlands ICT, sector association of the ICT sector, the government’s ambition to make the Netherlands the digital leader in Europe is not reflected in the bill of millions. No money is being set aside for major structural changes to make the Netherlands future-proof, says Lotte de Bruijn, Director of ICT in the Netherlands.

“However, funds are being earmarked for ‘easy measures, such as information’. In addition, in the speech from the throne, the ICT sector was discussed as a sector in which there is already great scarcity. However, it remains unclear how this scarcity of ICT practitioners in all sectors will be addressed.

The speech from the throne did not mention the enormous impact of the digital transformation on jobs, although the need for a modern labour market was mentioned. However, a large part of the labour force will have to be retrained in the coming years if they are to meet the jobs of the future.

According to the Netherlands ICT, no money is being allocated to accelerate the inclusion of digital literacy in the curriculum. And the problem of the impending numerus fixus for ICT training courses was not addressed either. In addition, the abolition of the 30% tax rule makes it more difficult to attract talent from abroad.

Digital security

The speech from the throne did refer to digitisation, but only to digital security. EUR 30 million will be made available to strengthen the security of the digital infrastructure, but it is not yet clear where this money will be spent.

Half a million euros will also be set aside to improve the security of hardware and software. What the amount is spent on is unclear. Under the banner of the Digital Trust Centre, one million euros will also be made available to educate the public about digital security.

Societal challenges

Furthermore, the opportunities of digitisation in tackling major societal challenges were not mentioned. The digitisation strategy does address these issues. For example, digital transformation can play a major role in keeping healthcare affordable, and digital technology plays a key role in achieving climate goals.

The Netherlands ICT fears that an overview of the progress of the digitisation strategy is lacking, because any measures taken to accelerate new solutions are hidden in separate, departmental budgets.

“France invests 1.5 billion in artificial intelligence”, says De Bruijn, “It is not clear from the Budget Memorandum how much the Netherlands invests. That’s problematic. The largest issue in the digital field is for digitising the government itself. No budget is reserved for the digitisation of the economy.”

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.