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Survival Reports Fleecing Taxpayers’ Money

Posted July. 09, 2002 22:27,   


Divisions within ministries are reportedly wasting huge amount of taxpayers’ money on conjuring up “survival reports.” In other words, a division, which fails to proffer “hard-evidence” supporting the needs for its existence, will be put into extinction in the expected reorganization upon the inauguration of the next administration.

A survival report refers to a report made through out-sourcing. In that report, a division within a ministry is analyzed in terms of its structural and operational efficiency. The reports usually have titles such as “Scrutiny of Job Performance” or “Study on the Administrative Structure for Advancement.” In essence, the reports are to evaluate whether a particular unit is worth taxpayers’ money or whether its authority is proper.

At the government level, a task force is organized and in full operation by the Ministry of Governmental Administration and Home Affairs (MGAHA). It got to be born in expectation of a new administration. The task force is for analyzing a division’s functions, roles and achievements. Therefore, it is pointed out that there is no need for divisions to out-source the same tasks to private companies. It is a waste of money and an example of selfishness. Last December, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) commissioned a research to the Korean Association for Public Administration (KAPA). The research cost 25 million won and was titled “Study of Efficient Operation of Central Government’s Division of Human Affairs.”

In a nutshell, the research stressed that the CSC should be given more power and authorities equal to those of a division.

The Presidential Commission on Small and Medium Enterprises (PCSME) also wasted 40 million won in last December in order to commission and publish a report named “Direction of Development for the Administrative Structure of the PCSME.”

Through the report, the PCSME wanted to boost its authorities. According to the report, it should be authorized to screen out policies for small-and-medium sized businesses before they are sent up to the Congress. Therefore, the report recommended that the PCSME should be allowed more employees and specialists be more opportunities to get a job at small-and-medium sized businesses.

An official at the PCSME said, “I don’t think all those analyses would bring about substantial benefits. But we don’t know who will take the power. We gotta be prepared to survive.”

In last April, the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication (MIT) released a report “Scrutiny of Job Performance of the Korea Post (KP)” at the cost of 90 million won. This report changed the MIT’s plan. It originally intended to lay off 3,756. But later it settled for 998 people.

Other ministries are also jumping on the wagon. The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) bought a report for 25 million won. The report “Study on the Direction of Development of MIT’s Administrative Structure” argued for a more increased number of subdivisions. The Financial Supervisory System (FSS) also threw in 150 million won out of its budget for commissioning a report to the KAPA. The contents, mainly about the analysis of its structure, were allegedly classified information, the FSS asserted, and not made public.

Lee Sung-hee, Commissioner of the Commission of Youth Protection (CYP), remarked, “We have heard a lot about restructuring. We also got nervous about our future. So, we decided to commission a report to the KAPA for 30 million won.”

Kim Yun-Pyong (professor of administration at Korea Univ.), a chairman of the KAPA, which has signed up a contract with the Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries for a report, explained, “Whenever a new administration took office, the structure of the government was reshaped under the pretext of ‘reform of administration.’ In other words, divisions were forced to do something for survival."

Sun-Mi Kim kimsunmi@donga.com