Waste in high places

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Waste in high places

Some citizens passing by the building that used to house the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Gye-dong, Jongno District, central Seoul last weekend were dumbfounded at the sight that greeted them. On the road next to the building office furniture and fixtures in perfect condition were piled haphazardly on the ground, like the remnants of a torn-down building. Was a company evicted from its offices, having fallen behind in the rent? Was the company in trouble and had to flee in haste, suddenly dumping its furniture and fixtures, all in good condition? Those could have been recycled and sold. The citizens shook their heads on seeing the horrible scene.
What they thought was far from the truth. The people who threw away the stuff were government officials. As the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries left the building due to government restructuring, the new occupant, the Ministry for Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs simply threw away what they left.
What if those were the personal belongings of a former homeowner? Even when common folk replace old furniture with new, they would not think of discarding their used items so recklessly. Some officials in the Welfare Ministry said, “The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries just left some furniture behind.” He also explained, “The recycling center will take some of the furniture soon.”
We cannot believe him, having seen how carelessly the abandoned furniture and fixtures were thrown down beside the road. Even if they are recycled soon, we cannot accept the way in which the officials are squandering the nation’s property, bought with tax money. While it is necessary to get set up and rearrange the ministries when a new administration takes office, why did they throw away national property that was in perfect condition? They have forgotten that each and every item came from the people’s taxes and is the nation’s property.
If public officials overlook their duty to use public properties bought by taxes carefully, we have a long way to go in reducing government waste. Even if the president demands austerity and try to reduce the budget by 10 percent, it will be to no avail. This time, wastefulness caught some citizens’ eyes. But we cannot imagine how much money is being spent needlessly out of sight of the public. The government should eliminate budgetary waste by bringing the matter to light. Public officials should be prudent in using our taxes it is my money and yours.
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