[EDITORIALS]Business leaders speak outPresident Roh Moo-hyun expressed serious dissatisfaction about the business world’s reference to the “uncertainties” of his administration.
In the New Year’s press conference, he questioned what the business world meant by saying that companies were reluctant to invest due to the uncertainties of the government.
He said that the business world was only repeating complaining without making clear requests. He even said in a meeting with the business editors of newspapers and broadcasters, “The word ‘uncertainty’ is the most convenient vocabulary to attack people without proper reason.”
But, on the same day, Kang Shin-ho, the acting chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries said, “The gap is wide between the government’s and business world’s views on the current economic conditions. The government’s policies are so vague as to create confusion. The ministers say that the policies are not problematic, but the business world does not think so.”
So which side’s assessment is correct?
Business leaders see the uncertainties of the government policies as the primary factor of unrest. Domestic companies have identified what the government should do to stimulate corporate investment: set up consistent and transparent policies.
Foreign companies operating in Korea echo a similar sentiment. “We don’t need the government’s support. We only want to know what way the government will go,” a businessman said. Business leaders are uneasy that Mr. Roh told them one thing and told another to labor leaders. The business world is full of doubts, because the directions of large-scale government projects are being changed in a single night.
It will be hard to improve investment, to revive the economy and to create jobs with the president’s and business world’s views remaining far apart. As a first step to narrow the gap, the president should open his mind and hear the remarks of the business world. He should often visit business leaders to listen to criticism and visit industrial spots to see the real situations. He should show that he has changed through actions, not through words.