[EDITORIALS]Accounts unaccounted forThe Ministry of Planning and Budget’s ambitious plan to have public institutions release their management information has been deadlocked due to opposition from some of the institutions. Among them, the Bank of Korea and the Korean Broadcasting System are insisting that they will not supply the information because they are independent institutions.
The two institutions said they were rejecting the Planning Ministry’s request for the information because it would signal the beginning of improper government intervention. There is something to what they say. The central bank and the public broadcaster may well think that their independence and autonomous management could be damaged if they unveiled their expenditure information to the government. But the request for the information by the Planning Ministry was made with no intention to interfere. First of all, the Planning Ministry has no power over the Bank of Korea or KBS. The ministry only intends to place the institutions, which are the most important to the public or are operated with government funds, under the public eye by unveiling their financial conditions and management information, including wages and expense accounts. If the operations of public institutions are shown to the public, it would become more difficult for them to waste money and be managed poorly. It seems somewhat strange that the two public institutions, citing their independence, are reacting over-sensitively to a well-intentioned request.
Maybe they are reluctant because they would feel uneasy if the information about their inside operations, such as wages and expense accounts, was made public and was compared with those of other institutions or companies. Such an attitude will cause serious problems. Although the central bank and the public broadcaster should be guaranteed their independence from the government, it does not mean that they have the privilege to avoid public scrutiny. If their wages and expense accounts are excessively higher than those of other public institutions or private companies of similar business characters, they should cut them to avoid public criticism. If they are not, the institutions will have no reason to hide information from the public.
If they are still reluctant to give the information to the Planning Ministry, they can choose to unveil the information themselves. The central bank and the public broadcaster should secure their independence not by refusing to give management information but by fulfilling their duties.