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Administrative Bodies Prepares for Small Government

Posted December. 05, 2007 08:26,   


Government ministries are busy these days in preparing countermeasures by creating taskforce teams since massive government restructuring is expected by the new government, which will be inaugurated in next February.

Presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party has recently announced the plan to reduce the number of government agencies from the current 56 to 12-13 by introducing the "big government agency system," and other candidates have also made pledges to revamp administrative bodies one after another.

According to a government source Tuesday, many government agencies have set up special teams internally to develop countermeasures in a preparation for the possible restructuring.

With regard to this, the Ministry of Environment has been researching into how the ministry will respond to social changes through the “Strategic Planning Team,” one of its taskforce teams.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is pulling out all the steps to prepare for the upcoming restructuring by setting up a research body called the “Research Team on Agriculture in Future,” established earlier this year.

The MAF research team has been considering the establishment of an ‘Agriculture and Rural Food Division’ that takes the food related responsibility currently assumed by Korea Food and Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

However, a source from the ministries explained on their recent move, “Even though these taskforces have been researching into possible ways and functions of government restructuring, we didn’t set them up because of the presidential election only.”

However, one professor of public administration, who requested anonymity, said, “Each government agency is very busy nowadays collecting information about the restructuring plans from presidential candidate offices, and this job is mostly being carried out by the ministries’ policy and public relations divisions.”

Government agencies, however, are very cautious because this could be interpreted as a sign that they think the current government will lose the power.

A source from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy, which is being spotlighted as one of the first bodies subject to downsizing, said, “Even though there is a voice that stresses the necessity of restructuring, we don’t have any plan and are just observing what is going on for now.”

Regarding this, some criticize that government officials are just concerned about their individual interests, rather than committing themselves to their duties as public officials.

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