[EDITORIALS]Slipshod public policy

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[EDITORIALS]Slipshod public policy

We cannot suppress concern and sorrow over the 800 or so problems related to major administrative tasks pursued by government agencies as announced by the Policy Evaluation Committee. The committee is an advisory group under the Office of the Prime Minister. The feeling is that we have a long way to go in efficient governance. The committee announced in front of President Kim Dae-jung last weekend that 63 administrative tasks have met their goals, but other tasks have yet to do so due to a lack of commitment in implementation, flexibility in dealing with change and follow-through in interagency cooperation. The committee's evaluation sounds like the government agencies have done a good job overall, and mistakes are few and far apart. But that is not what the facts are, when we look into the specific points of the evaluation. There are problems that threaten to erode the existence of the agency. A fund operated by the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. has accumulated losses of 49 trillion won ($37 billion); the result of restructuring by four major sectors fell short of expectations; plans to lay off some 4,600 public workers have been postponed. In addition, the ramifications of medical reform and measures to deal with unemployment are all examples of slipshod public policies, the fallout from which our society will have to bear. Deepening our concern, the committee has not disclosed all the facts, in consideration of the concerned government administrations.

Furthermore, a pledge renewed by the government to root out corruption shows a lack of commitment. The committee pointed out that investigative authorities, including the prosecution, have not issued self-disciplinary measures even after they have found out that some prosecutors were involved in corruption cases.

We have become accustomed to the outbreaks of financial fraud, but the committee's evaluation that a reform to combat corruption was in form only is confounding.

President Kim Dae-jung has stressed that he will "root out corruption," a promise that he stakes the fate of his administration on. But it is highly questionable how effectively that pledge will be carried out.
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