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Policy Coordination System Has Collapsed.

Posted June. 08, 2005 06:40,   


Serious flaws have been spotted in the government system of making and implementing policies. While government departments play a simple role of providing information for master plans compiled by presidential committees, advisory committees lack the power and ability of tuning up each ministry due to their inexperience. Of course, frequent conflicts over the different opinions between the government and the ruling Uri Party are partly owing to the various opinions within the party but, at the same time, no one can find the government’s efforts to coordinate the gaps in the process.

In short, the function of coordinating polices in the government has been missing as the Cheong Wa Dae, the prime minister’s office and the ruling party, and the administration departments have advanced on their own. The exemplary cases are measures for the small businesses of the self-employed and conventional outdoor markets, which have come out after fierce talks and debaters prolonged the process for several months. But now, a review is inevitable.

The public is confused because of the frequently noticed cacophony between the government and the ruling party over important domestic agendas that have an enormous impact on people’s lives, such as real estate polices and the allocation of the supplementary budget.

No Policy Priorities-

One of the biggest grievances among administrative officials is that there are no priorities in listing national agendas. A senior ministry official complained, “I suggested easing regulations in the Seoul Metropolitan area since the government chanted it has made all-out efforts in order to boost the economy, but the Presidential Committee on Balanced National Development and the prime minister’s office refused the measure while mentioning balanced national development.”

A director in the economic department of Gwacheon Government Complex said, “I presented a drastic plan for lightening real estate regulation since I concluded that the core of measures curving property speculations is providing land that can replace Gangnam. But, in the end, the plan was not executed due to opposition from the Defense and Environment ministries.”

No Control Tower-

Neither Cheong Wa Dae, the prime minister’s office, nor the vice economy minister are taking the role of commander. Rather, 23 presidential committees have taken command.

A relevant official from the Ministry of Economy pointed out, “Even though there are many more meetings held by government compared to before, there is no control tower that can get rid of obstacles to the smooth implementation of polices while tuning up each sector.”

An official from the Ministry of Economy and Finance said, “Recent economic polices such as education, medical, and law market openings, building business cities and establishing free economic zones, and land deregulation need more cooperation from non-economic departments, so a “comprehensive power” such as the president or the prime minister should realize those measures instead of the vice minister for the economy.

Professor Kim Jong-seok at Hongik University mentioned, “The government should distinguish power and responsibility and needs a central point that can serve a role as a control tower, even though the government favors a decentralized power system.”

Triangle Structure Consisting of Government, Ruling Party and Cheong Wa Dae Has Collapsed-

The cacophony between the ruling party, the government and Cheong Wa Dae, the three main axes of the nation, is in a very serious condition. The ruling Uri Party has complained that the government reported sensitive polices to Cheong Wa Dae such as a plan designed to impose transfer taxes on single households with one house, aid measures for the self-employed, and the restructuring plan of conventional outdoor markets, without discussing the issues with the ruling party. Meanwhile, the economic ministry criticized the party that the Uri Party is in disarray while failing to determine the views of the party.

There is also a subtle conflict between Cheong Wa Dae and administrative departments. A relevant official from the Ministry of Planning and Budget said with a sigh, “Even in the policy coordination process, the Ministry cannot present opinions that are not in line with the government’s core code when it comes to balanced national development and the stabilization of real estate prices in Gangnam.”

Byong-Ki Lee Chi-YoungShin eye@donga.com higgledy@donga.com