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Ex-minister: President shielded from reality

Posted November. 13, 2000 14:42,   


Sound, innovative and intelligent forces are not able to link the president with the people, because there is a force of an elite group, some unprincipled and corrupt officials are blocking the communications between them.

Former Commerce, Industry and Energy Minister Kim Young-Ho, a member of President Kim Dae-Jung¡¯s economic team, raised such a harsh criticism of the process of decision-making in the government.

In an interview with the Donga-Iibo Sunday, the former minister asserted that the government did well in coping with the economic difficulties at the initial stage of the IMF program but now faces an economic crisis , since the economic principle was swayed by political considerations in terms of elections and other factors. Specifically, he pointed out that the 1999 stimulation package triggered the state of crisis.

In connection with the decision-making process, there is no force that can lead the change in the role a bureaucratic group needs for a new age, he claimed, therefore, inter-ministerial egoism is rampant. Although the economic officials are competent on an individual basis, the government-initiated reforms have failed, as they have exposed limits to systematic teamwork as the economic team as a whole, he criticized.

The former minister pointed out that there are fears that industrial competitiveness will be weakened, because the government¡¯s restructuring drive has been concentrated on financial sector.

Stating that under the IMF bailout system the government was able to overcome the economic crunch with sacrifice of workers, the introduction of foreign capital and injection of public funds, the former minister predicted that there would be serious resistance from the workers in the course of the second round of the restructuring. He underlined the need to form a reform-oriented system based on labor-management cooperation.

If the economic reform falters due to the lame-duck syndrome, the 2002 presidential election and other political variables, the nation is feared to face a lost decade in which economic stagnation persists as in the case of Japan, though the nation could not reach the level of the economic development of that country, he asserted.