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No more 'gapjil' at the National Audit

Posted October. 11, 2022 07:38,   

Updated October. 11, 2022 07:38


An analysis by The Dong-A Ilbo of 119 witnesses, including entrepreneurs, that attended the National Audit session last year showed that the average witness spoke for around 3 minutes and 41 seconds. Except for a few that spoke relatively longer, the average speaking time lasted only a couple of minutes or even less than 30 seconds. This shows that the outdated practice of lawmakers summoning entrepreneurs and having them wait endlessly, only to blame them, remains unchanged.

Last year, Kakao, Naver, and other IT founders were summoned to the National Audit as the issue of platform businesses abusing their power over suppliers (known as gapjil) surfaced. Chairman Kim Bum-soo, who was summoned to three standing committees, stayed for 15 hours and 40 minutes but spoke for 43 minutes, the longest of all the witnesses who were summoned. Other IT founders or CEOS were given only eight to 15 minutes.

On the other hand, more than half of the witnesses, 69 out of 119 were not even given three minutes to speak. One witness was asked only one question, to which s/he spoke for 27 seconds. Another witness spent hours sitting and did not even speak once. Witnesses placed in this situation would not know whether to laugh or cry. Some of the Q&A sessions did not include meaningful questions at all. One entrepreneur gave short replies such as “Yes, I understand,” “I’m very sorry for the trouble,” or “Yes, that’s correct” six times for 11 seconds.

National Audits are essential because the sessions are designed to identify, monitor, and keep government operations in check. Anyone can be summoned and questioned about key economic/social issues vital to the nation. Therefore, it is wrong to summon people to such an important occasion but have them wait endless hours and end up asking perfunctory questions, blaming them, or not asking anything. The National Audit should not be an opportunity for lawmakers to show off their power.

This year’s National Audit will feature many entrepreneurs, although CEOs of conglomerates have been excluded from the list. National audit sessions held by the Political Affairs Committee are known to ask questions that lack understanding of business practice or irrelevant questions. No wonder lawmakers are criticized for summoning entrepreneurs if they waste time in this manner. We do not wish to see any more gapjil at the National Audit.