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[Editorial] Is President Roh Aware of Chaos in the Administration Service?

[Editorial] Is President Roh Aware of Chaos in the Administration Service?

Posted August. 03, 2005 03:05,   


The number of cases of double-charged traffic penalties is reported to have reached one million for the past four years starting in 2000, and the amount of the penalties was approximately 55 billion won. Also, over the same period, of 60,000 cases of refusing to pay taxes, 38 percent, or 23,000 cases, were found to be wrongfully charged taxes. Despite the launch of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, if it is true that even basic administration services such as taxation and penalty charges have not been carried out properly and continued to make people’s lives difficult, words like reform or innovation are nothing but hollow promises.

Several laughable cases of administration service pointed out in the audit statement of 2004 released by the Board of Audit and Inspection are serious enough to even raise a doubt on South Korea’s qualifications to be a member of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Patriots and Veterans Administration Agency provided pensions for the dead. The Ministry of Environment charged a spring water manufacturer expenses for the improvement of water quality 350 times higher than that of a beer manufacturer. An organization under the Ministry of Health and Welfare hung out at a bar several times in the name of doing business. Civil servants who have done these works have been paid without fail, and will even be given a generous pension later.

President Roh has emphasized innovation in his administration. He defined innovation in administration as the provision of good administration services to the people. It was President Roh who refused to follow the global trend of subsiding the government roles to become a “small government,” saying that he would make the government be good at carrying out works. That’s why the Roh Moo-hyun administration added 22 ministers and vice ministers to the government, along with 4,000 additional administrative jobs. However, the results seem gloomy, according to the World Bank report indicating that South Korea’s administration service quality dropped to 42nd place from 38th two years ago. He increased the number of civil servants living on taxes and held several glamorous presentations regarding innovation cases, and came up with a plausible “manual,” which, however, has turned out to be not working so far.

In addition, taxpayers are left to fill the deficit of the civil servant pension, which is expected to reach 7.3 trillion won for the next five years. Even before people are provided with services from civil servants, taxpayers now have to provide services for the future of civil servants after retirement.

The Roh Moo-hyun administration is now two years old. This is time to take back the seemingly excellent reform slogans and start checking out closely which problematic parts of the administration’s services people are the most uncomfortable with and correct them first, no matter how trivial they might be. I hope President Roh Moo-hyun and Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan will find a way to create a successful government with such works.