[EDITORIALS]Get rid of government wasteThe state financial institutions Bank of Korea, Korea Development Bank and Industrial Bank of Korea have been reprimanded by the Board of Audit and Inspection for lax management. They were said to have bent rules to raise wages and to have provided overly generous welfare programs. The KDB once gave away an excessive amount by fixing its employee evaluation data, and the Bank of Korea gave away their remaining labor cost budget of 11.3 billion won ($11.9 million) as special bonuses. Woori Bank, which was rescued by a public fund, has paid 42 individuals on break a total bonus of 72 million won.
At the Bank of Korea, there are reportedly security guards and chauffeurs with an annual wage of 91 million won. The auditing agency estimates the figure is up to three times as high as other domestic banks. This is all taxpayers’ money, and it cannot even be recaptured. The state banks have joined the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and the Fair Trade Commission as government agencies under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The auditing body recommends that the banks shed off their excessive weight, but they continue to expand against the stated purpose of their existence. In the process, the KDB and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, another state-run bank, are in a dispute over their respective areas of business. The Industrial Bank, established to help out small and medium enterprises, aims to take over insurance and securities companies.
The government should be blamed for letting things get this far. We cannot help but question whether the government coddled the heads of state-run banks because most of them were previously with the Finance Ministry.
The raison d’etre of state-run banks is to fill in holes that cannot be filled by private banks. If they continue to do simply what the private sector is already doing, their existence is a waste of government funds.
We have said this before, and we will say it again: Government agencies whose jobs have been done and whose time has come must be gone. If some parts of their businesses can be managed better by the private sector, then they should be privatized.
The state-run companies must realize that in the shadows of the so-called “God-given jobs” at such companies, there are more than a half-million job seekers. Those responsible must be disciplined accordingly, and these companies must undergo restructuring. That’s the least they can do for the law-abiding taxpayers.