[EDITORIALS]Ill-conceived relocation planThe relocation plan for 177 state-controlled companies in Seoul metropolitan areas is finally confirmed. According to the plan, Korea Electric Power Corp. will move to Gwangju city, Korea Land Corp. to North Jeolla province, Korea Housing Corp. to South Jeolla, Korea Highway Corporation to North Gyeongsang and Korea National Tourism Organization to Gawangwon province. The plan, which allocated 10 to 15 companies to each city and province, sent Korea Electric Power Corp. and its two affiliates, which were coveted by many local governments, to Gwangju city under the condition that the city does not host other companies.
The government said the decision was made based on opinions from all fields, various organizations and the local governments that applied to host the companies, but the plan was actually forced by the government, which completely ignored the opinions of the state-controlled enterprises. The decision was made amid fierce competition among the local governments to attract the companies, succumbing to political considerations that completely set aside the efficiency of the actual relocation of each company. Is this really balanced development of local regions? This will eventually be a huge waste of the government’s budget in the name of balanced development.
We have repeatedly urged the government to promote relocation projects based on careful consideration of need, cost and the actual effects of the relocation. In particular, we have advised many times that the government should refrain from transferring companies out of political considerations, which inevitably sets aside the character and operational efficiency of each company. But the plan turned out exactly as we feared, which seems to be based on politics to curry favor with local voters.
Now the relocation plan is causing many of the state-controlled companies and local governments whose bids were rejected to issue angry reactions and criticize the central government.
It is evident that the plan, pushed out of political consideration, will pay a price by wasting taxpayers’ money. It is unclear how much such relocation plans could contribute to the equal development of local regions, and it is doubtful such a contribution could offset the waste and inefficiency the relocation will bring about.