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Government Promotion Budget to be Slashed

Posted December. 08, 2006 08:36,   


“Although words like ‘promotion’ and ‘innovation’ were added to the budget title to appeal to top government officials so as to receive a bigger budget, the budget is likely to be slashed,” said an official of an economic ministry.

The government’s innovation and promotion-related budgets, which are reviewed in earnest by the National Assembly, are expected to be dramatically curtailed

The main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) declared that it will reduce the innovation and promotion budgets of the government as much as possible because they are irrelevant to the livelihood of the people and are wasting taxpayer money ahead of next year’s presidential elections.

The governing Uri Party, which the government considers an ally, will likely not be able to help the government. The Uri Party has not only been suffering from an internal feud, but its relationship with Cheong Wa Dae has also severely deteriorated.

The Government Information Agency (GIA)’s Budget for Major Government Policy Promotion alone amounts to 7.8 billion won ($ 8.2 million)-

It is easy to guess the nature of the controversial innovation and promotion related budgets of ministries just from reading their titles.

Although the GIA has budgeted 7.82 billion won for 2007 in promoting the state’s major policies, the GNP is planning to cut the budget in half, saying it is a typical budget that aims to influence the 2007 presidential elections.

The promotion budget for administrative city construction and innovation city projects that the government has been earnestly supporting is also likely to be reduced. The GNP is determined to cut more than 1.4 billion won of the promotion budget set aside as part of the Administrative City Construction Budget.

In regard to the promotion budget, some ruling party lawmakers also point out that “It is so obvious. Which political party would agree with massive promotion of the administrative city project (whose opposition was so fierce that) the government had to go all the way to the Constitutional Court’s ruling to get the permission?” a lawmaker of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts said, asking to remain anonymous.

Most of the so-called innovation budget is for training public servants-

The Health Ministry’s 2.1 billion-won promotion budget for the project, dubbed “Public Awareness Project to Overcome a Low Birthrate, Aging Society,” has also emerged as a bone of contention. Critics argue that the project aims to drag the “growth versus distribution” debate, which it has never stopped under the incumbent government, into the upcoming presidential race.

While the GNP is demanding the scrapping of the whole budget, the government and the Uri Party claim that the budget is absolutely necessary to carry out long-term government projects like Vision 2030.

Although the innovation-related budget is allocated to train and educate public servants, it does not clearly indicate how the money will be spent.

The title of the 1.67 billion won budget, named “Core Competence Training Support,” submitted by the Central Personnel Committee, appears to be a typical public employee training budget. However, the budget statement raises suspicion as it says, “To provide training to personnel and key figures of the central government in innovation projects and provide training for change management according to the hierarchy.”

In addition, critics point out that parts of the budget, such as the “Diagnosis and Management for Autonomous Innovation” (1.54 billion won), and the “Durable Foundation for the Government’s Innovation,” (0.57 billion won) of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs are also inappropriate to apply at the last year of the incumbent government.

ddr@donga.com sanjuck@donga.com