We have a new guest post from Emilis Dambauskas from Lithuania. We hope you will like it, as it is a very interesting interview. Enjoy!
“Last week a new website launched in Lithuania (viešai.lt — “publicly.lt”). The website lists the budget(s) of the state in detail that was unavailable before and provides some analysis and access to the data collected. It was created and developed by some young financial managers, analysts and their friends developers. They are not from ManoValstybė, but I am very enthusiastic about the work they’ve done. I asked them if they could send me some answers to my questions in English and this is what they sent me:
Emilis: What is the goal of the website and your main work principles?
Tomas Krakauskas: The main goal of viesai.lt is to provide up to date information about government spending. We hope that public information will help to achieve more transparent and less corrupt use of government funds as well as involve society in discussions about public spending.
Emilis: What is viešai.lt?
Tomas Krakauskas: There are 9 different budgets in Lithuania and it have very complicated connections with each other (there are transfers from one budget to another) so it is difficult for people to find data and to understand movement of money. Viesai.lt is the first webpage in Lithuania that systematically provides the whole information about public spending and allows users to compare and analyze data.
Emilis: How did you come up with the idea?
Tomas Krakauskas: Two years ago authors of this idea were writing a blog www.teigiamai.lt (it means”positively.lt”) about economical situation in Lithuania. Authors were not able to find some particular information about public spending or the information was presented in complicated way so authors decided to establish webpage with the data about public spending.
Emilis: How did you implement your idea?
Tomas Krakauskas: After decision to implement this idea we formed the team of different competence. Being just two economists, we invited to join our friends to cope with IT issues. Also few other colleagues helps with data collecting and structurization. We had a bad experience with the Ministry of Finance as they refused to provide information that, according to the law, must be public. After that we contacted high rank officials from Prime Minister team and they help us to deal with bureaucracy resistance and supports this project.
Emilis: What are your plans for the future?
Tomas Krakauskas: Viesai.lt team is going concentrate on collecting and expanding data base as well as develop data presentation in user-friendly way. One of the major priority of the project is to spread the message about the possibility to see and even influence effectiveness of public spending.”