E-system aims to cut state phone bill

The Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Information Systems (GSIS) is to set up an electronic system to monitor telephone calls made from government offices and the broader public sector after recent research suggested that the state’s phone bill costs Greek taxpayers some 285 million euros a year.

As of May 1, GSIS will launch an electronic database of all landline and cellphone numbers being billed to the state, ranging from the official residence of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to individual Citizen Information Centers (KEPs).

The government budget sets aside 125 million euros for the phone calls of the central government – chiefly ministry offices – but it is believed that this target is exceeded by at least 10 million euros. Meanwhile the extended network of local authority offices and other state bodies, which number more than 30,000, is believed to add another 150 million euros to the tab.

Ahead of the scheduled launch of the new system on May 1, the government has advised all state bodies and services to begin creating a database of all the telephone numbers they use. According to a notice published in the Government Gazette last week, telecommunications companies will be asked to create corresponding databases recording the amount charged for each connection.

A government source told Kathimerini that authorities expect to get an initial overview of which parts of the state sector are overspending on telephone calls in the coming months.