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[Editorial] Still Moving Toward a “Big and Inefficient Government”

[Editorial] Still Moving Toward a “Big and Inefficient Government”

Posted June. 22, 2005 06:00,   


The Roh Moo-hyun administration is hurriedly working to adopt a double-vice ministerial system. Two days ago, at a Government Administration and Home Affairs Committee meeting of the National Assembly, the Uri Party progressively passed an amendment on government system law, including the above, despite opposition from the Grand National Party.

Increasing the number of high officials sounds reasonable when there is new administrative demand. However, it is imperative to look back in the first place whether poor administration for the public welfare took place as there was only one vice minister per ministry or ministries had a lack of efficiency because of other reasons, such as malfeasance or intervention of administrative powers surrounding Cheong Wa Dae.

For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade plays a mere servant role for the government as they have starkly different “codes”: It was not the matter of having just one vice minister. No one would agree with the argument that the Ministry of Finance and Economy came to play a much weaker role because there is just one vice minister. Aren’t there enough “high officials” to be served that are overwhelming the ministry?

Under such a heavy-handed system in managing national affairs, the capacity of numerous professional officials is likely to either disappear or weaken. There is emerging criticism toward the government “not to put the cart before the horse“ as it is about to progressively increase vice ministers when it is the government that ruined the situation in the first place. The World Bank analyzed that there was an increase of 11 vice ministers and ministers and of 4,000 administrative government officials during the Roh administration, but the country’s overall efficiency fell from 42nd to 38th place worldwide.

President Roh declared the creation of “an efficient government,” rejecting “a smaller government” that is being promoted by other countries. However, not many would think the current government is an efficient one after witnessing countless confusion and failures in deciding and pursuing various measures.

It is not to argue it is wrong to post an additional vice minister where needed with adequate evidence. The problem is that the government’s ruling party is recklessly moving forward with no break toward “a big and inefficient government” which is supposed to be managed based on taxes.