[EDITORIALS]Long-festering worries realizedThe minister in charge of the nation’s pension fund has gone public about putting the brakes on the government’s plan to use the fund to invest in large-scale social overhead capital projects or to protect the management rights of major domestic companies. Kim Keun-tae, the minister of health and welfare, which oversees the management of the pension fund, posted a statement on the ministry’s Web site pledging to block the economy-related ministries’ efforts to use the fund.
In his statement, Mr. Kim speaks on behalf of citizens, expressing their doubts and insecurities about the management of the national pension fund. Mr. Kim said, “Ordinary folks wonder, ‘Is the government using my money recklessly, so that I won’t be unable to get my principal [capital] back?’ and show their doubts and mistrust of the government.”
We have already expressed our concern on numerous occasions about the government’s plans to use the national pension fund. Like Mr. Kim’s public statement, our worries are becoming a reality.
Mr. Kim warned that the public’s suspicions could escalate into a rejection of the national pension fund itself. The problem is that debates about the management plans of the controversial pension occur only once in a while without sufficient agreement or discussions. Indeed, it is not surprising that the welfare minister pointed out the hastiness of the Economy Ministry’s plans by saying, “We must be more cautious about the use of the pension fund if we understand the feelings of those people who have saved up money for the future.”
Unless we improve the payment method of the national pension fund and wisely manage the money entrusted to the government, the fund could be depleted. To prevent this from happening, the government must find new investment areas and work to improve the fund’s management. However, just because the government is leading the management of the pension fund does not mean that the government can freely use the money.
But aside from this, there is problem in Mr. Kim’s actions. If Mr. Kim thought the pension issue was so serious, what was he doing during meetings with government bodies and the cabinet? Why is he bringing this up all of a sudden? If this is how the nation’s major policies are being carried out, there is a serious problem in the way the country is being run.