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S. Korea Unveils Measures to Improve Competitiveness of Public Sector
Source: english.yonhapnews.co.kr
Source Date: Monday, July 08, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Jul 09, 2013

South Korea Monday unveiled a set of measures including stepped-up performance evaluation on public organizations to help enhance their competitiveness and overall management efficiency.

The measures were discussed at a meeting in Seoul where policymakers exchanged views on how to improve the "efficiency, responsibility and transparency" of public organizations, according to the finance ministry.

Under the five-year policy direction, the government will push to close or consolidate public organizations whose roles are overlapping, while evaluating the performance of newly-launched public bodies three years after their inception in order to determine whether they should remain open or be shut down.

In order to prevent unqualified people from being selected as the heads of public organizations, the ministry said that the government will provide more specified guidelines on required qualifications.

The government also plans to create 70,000 jobs in the public sector over the next four years.

These measures were unveiled amid concerns that the country's public sector remains uncompetitive, with many of them under fire for their lax management business inefficiency, excessive bonuses and high levels of debt holdings.

South Korea has a total of 295 public organizations including state-run companies. Their main role is to provide key public and social services for the general public.

Along with their expanded roles and growth in business size, their debt problems are also emerging as a major cause for concern.

According to government data, the combined debt of 295 public organizations stood at 493.4 trillion won (US$428.3 billion) as of last year, raising concerns that the worsening debt burden could undermine their ability to provide key public services.

"Growing debt in the public sector is weighing on the overall economy and spawning concerns that key public services that they provide could be scaled down going forward," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said during the meeting.

In a move to keep public sector debt in check, the government will disclose details on debt owed by public organizations every year that could include specified reasons behind debt increases, the ministry said.
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