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[Editorial] Do not harass or hassle business firms

Posted November. 27, 2000 21:26,   


A leading vernacular daily carried an entrepreneur's advertisement Monday criticizing the National Tax Service (NTS). The NTS promptly released relevant materials to refute the ad. The NTS' refutation, however, does not put to rest our query that the businessman would not spend money to put an expensive advertisement if the NTS' case in question is as flawless as it tries to lead us to believe. We may give some benefit of doubt to the NTS for the advertised case, but the government must pay due attention to rising complaints of the business community about the government officials' unduly tightened controls over business firms.

A public accountant once pointed out the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) was the agency where the country's most corrupt group of people work.

Some people confess their stressful encounters with the FSS. No matter how perfectly the FSS' required papers are prepared by experts, the paper works do rarely satisfy the FSS people without going through lots of hassling and stressful red tape.

To give another example, an export company with 50 employees has gone through enormous ordeals and difficulties to face NTS' scrutiny for a taxation probe.

In the end, the NTS concluded that the firm's book-keeping was good and flawless.

But, the firm's president is very resentful about the government. For, there is no way he can recover the enormous losses incurred from the fact that the firm could not carry on its regular business during the NTS' tax probe.

President Kim Dae-Jung has consistently assured us, whenever the occasion arose, that he would make this nation as the world's best country for doing business together with liberalization of regulations by reforming rules and procedures for business. Yet, the fact remains that there are still 292 laws that require overlapping controls by more than two government ministries to regulate business management.

We must be able to correctly appreciate the meaning of the Bureau of Audit and Inspection's recent survey in this regard. The survey indicated that 50.9 percent of the nation's businessmen showed a negative response to the government's reform efforts to liberalize rules and regulations. Some even stated that the situation became worse than before.

In fact, the government ministries appear to be abusively vying each other to exercise their right to probe business management. As a consequence, a company obviously went through 120 days of the government's probes in a year.

Short of being a criminal, no one should be subjected to such an abusive probe. Surely, ours may be the only nation in the world that conducts such excessive probes over business community.

Both the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) and the NTS are equally the government agencies, but they carry out the overlapping probes over business firms twice or even three times in some instances. Naturally, the business community cannot contain its dissatisfaction against them.

Worse yet, what makes business firms lament about is the FTC's attempt to extend its temporary permit to trace business firms' bank accounts without considering the effect, possibly deepening business slumps.

Under the circumstances, we come across some laughable aspects in our business community: some financial institutions and business firms employ foreign managers in their desperate efforts to counter the government's such unreasonable interference.

Business activities should be regulated by an equitable and yet firmly principled regulations. We realize that some firms can be evil-intended or may resort to wrongful business practices which would require stern regulations.

Within the spheres of given rules and regulations, however, all business firms must be assured of the full freedom for their business activities. When the boundaries of such lawful spheres are vague and the applicable rules have no objective criteria, the firms naturally have legitimate complaints.

The government should not needlessly hassle with business enterprises.

It is the business community that can make rooms to intake large supply of new manpower. It is also business firms that play the role of buttressing the nation's economy by their activities of productions. The way we can ensure their survival will also point to the nation's survival.