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National Audit Office of Lithuania

Picture for National Audit Office assessed the digitalisation of public and administrative services: not all electronic services are available in the Electronic Government Gateway and 62% of existing services are not usedDigitising public and administrative services in a high-quality, efficient and functional way helps citizens to access services more conveniently, and makes government operations more efficient, transparent and smooth. The National Audit Office's audit "Managing the digitalisation of public and administrative services" found that the management of the digitalisation of the services needs to be improved: it is necessary to ensure that services are available on a one-stop shop basis, to establish an effective monitoring and quality assessment system and to accelerate the implementation of the digitisation of all public and administrative services.

In 2022, Lithuania is ranked 10th out of 27 EU countries in terms of the provision of digital public services. In 2014-2020, EUR 96 million was allocated to digitalisation projects for public and administrative services in the country, and a further EUR 238 million is planned by 2030. The Electronic Government Gateway is a portal through which 649 public and administrative services are accessible.

The National Audit Office's audit shows that 86% of the users of the Electronic Government Gateway portal have a positive opinion of the services provided, but the auditors point out that not all services of public interest are yet provided through the portal. 

"While there have been promises for many years to create a user-friendly and clear integrated electronic service delivery system for citizens, there has been no guarantee that all electronic services will be available as a one-stop shop. Almost 57% of institutions reported that not all of their public and administrative electronic services are available through the Electronic Government Gateway portal. In addition, the potential of national development programmes to digitalise public and administrative services is not being sufficiently exploited - 76 out of 134 planned advanced electronic services that should have been launched have not yet been developed," says Markas Marcinkevičius, Head of the Information Technology Audit Department.

The National Audit Office notes that no tools have been developed to monitor and assess electronic service quality. Data from a survey of state institutions and municipalities show that 85.3% of institutions do not carry out user-friendliness assessments of public and administrative electronic services and do not identify the needs for changes in the service delivery process. These reasons lead to a significant share of the Electronic Government Gateway portal being taken up by services that could theoretically be provided but for which there is no demand. As many as 61.5% of the electronic services available in the portal have not been used once or have been used only up to 10 times by the population in 2022.

The National Audit Office made recommendations to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the Ministry of the Interior. Their implementation would ensure a higher level of accessibility, availability and user-friendliness of electronic services: at least 85% of institutions (2.5 times more) would assess the user-friendliness of these services, and 25% more services would be available through the Electronic Government Gateway portal.

Picture for With foreign production and consumption remaining weak, a moderate recovery of the Lithuanian economy is expected next yearThe National Audit Office of Lithuania implementing the function of the fiscal institution (NAO FI) has assessed the economic development scenario for 2023-2026 published by the Ministry of Finance on 11 September.
According to the assessment of NAO FI, the growth of Lithuania's real GDP in the second quarter of 2023 allowed to mitigate the projected economic contraction in 2023 compared to the June scenario. In the background of geopolitical tensions and the tightening of monetary policy due to high inflation, global economic developments remain uncertain, resulting in a cautious assessment of Lithuania’s growth prospects in 2024.
“On the one hand, a strong recovery in Lithuania's real exports of goods and services in 2024 is not expected due to the projected sluggish external demand, while on the other hand, real GDP growth should be supported by investment and a strong labour market. We consider the projected moderate economic growth in 2024 to be plausible. Since the opinions on the economic prospects have no significant differences, we endorse the economic development scenario for 2023-2026," said Jurga Rukšėnaitė, Head of the Budget Monitoring Department.
For the first time, the NAO FI is also publishing its macroeconomic forecasts together with the opinion on the endorsement of the economic development scenario. These forecasts, along with other elements of the analysis, help the NAO FI to assess the scenario and take a decision on endorsement.
“The OECD is delighted to see the Budget Monitoring Department starting to publish its macroeconomic forecast alongside its endorsement of the economic development scenario. This aligns with good practice across peer institutions in the OECD and will further enhance the institution’s transparency and credibility." said Scherie Nicol, representative of the OECD. Together with other foreign and Lithuanian experts of the OECD, she conducted the first external review of the National Audit Office implementing the functions of the fiscal institution in 2019, where publication of macroeconomic forecasts was one of the recommendations made.
With Lithuania's economic development remaining relatively stable, anticipating more balanced risks from energy prices and falling inflation, large-scale support measures should no longer be used. Moreover, starting in 2024, EU Member States will need to return to common fiscal discipline rules. In the absence of evidence at the time of endorsement of economic development scenario that grounds for the application of exceptional circumstances persist in Lithuania, the NAO FI believes that all national fiscal discipline rules should be invoked. With the economy remaining below its potential level in the coming years and without applying exceptional circumstances, general government deficits could be generated up to the extent allowed by fiscal discipline rules.


Picture for National Audit Office assessed the identification of the need for teachers and the measures to attract themMeasures to attract teachers are being taken at the state and municipal level, but not enough new teachers are entering schools. The National Audit Office has assessed ensuring the need for teachers and notes that data on the need for teachers is not complete and the effectiveness of measures to attract teachers is not assessed, so those that create more value are not identified.

"The identified need for teachers varies at national, municipal and school level. The national projections for 2018 and 2021 lacked data on student specialisations and current demand and did not consider factors such as the restructuring of the education network or the declining number of children. According to school data, between 2023 and 2024, there will be a shortage of teachers for 1 389 teaching positions, a third of which being in Vilnius", says audit team leader Eivida Šlamė.

An increasing number of municipalities (24 in 2020, 39 in 2022) have measures in place to attract teachers, but only 5 of the 39 plan to evaluate their effectiveness to select the most effective ones. Municipalities and schools compete with each other to attract teachers who are already working in other schools, which does not address the shortage of teachers.

Teachers' average salaries have been increasing every year since 2019. Teachers aged under 25 are paid more than the national average because of financial incentives, while teachers aged 50 and over are paid more because of their seniority and qualifications. Teachers aged 25-49 earned less than the national average, while those aged 25-34 earned the least of all teachers, which is one of the reasons why it is more difficult to keep them in schools.

Support for pedagogical studies has encouraged enrolment, but the priority support in 2022 and 2023 did not change the choice of pedagogical specialisations at the first cycle: the largest share of enrolments in priority specialisations was in primary education and special education, while only a few students chose science education. Pre-school and pre-primary education are popular among students, although there is no support for these specialisations.

The results of the assessment show that the attractiveness of pedagogical studies is increasing, with a 3-fold increase in the number of students choosing to study pedagogy in three years (2019-2022). In 2023, a higher proportion of those enrolled in first cycle state-funded places chose priority specialisations (78% in universities and 42% in colleges). Professional studies in pedagogy and retraining of teachers are the most popular ways of acquiring a teaching profession and additional specialisation (58% of all graduates and trainees of pedagogical studies in 2023). Professional studies in pedagogy make an important contribution to meeting the demand for subject teachers.

Picture for Development of Free Economic Zones is planned without a vision of what returns are expected at national levelFree Economic Zones (FEZs) are one of the tools to attract investment. When investing in these zones, the State has not foreseen the expected national return on investment, as shown by the assessment of the operation of the Free Economic Zones carried out by the National Audit Office.

Among the relevant objectives of establishing FEZs is the development of high technologies. The auditors found that none of the 7 currently operating FEZ management companies have performance indicators related to the development of high technology or the development of scientific progress, and 78% (71 out of 91) of the enterprises operating in the territory of the zones in 2023 were not engaged in high-tech activities. 

"In order for FEZs to create greater added value, they need to set expectations for their performance, review each zone's performance indicators in the light of economic and geopolitical changes and technological progress, and place greater emphasis on high-tech development. These issues should be resolved before new FEZs are established", says Jolanta Indriulienė, Audit Team Leader.

Due to underdeveloped infrastructure and unsuitable sites, only 27% of the FEZ's statutory area (i.e. 382.8 ha out of 1 433 ha) is in operation. Almost half of the unused area of the FEZs (476 ha) cannot be used at all due to easements, protection zones and other factors.

Picture for Development of Free Economic Zones is planned without a vision of what returns are expected at national level