President Park Geun-hye called on heavily-indebted public firms Tuesday to take an active part in efforts to improve their efficiency, renewing her commitment to public sector reform.
"Public organizations take on an important role of providing public services directly linked to the everyday lives of the people. We can say that the competitiveness of public organizations translates directly into national competitiveness," Park said during a Cabinet meeting.
"Without the reduction of excessive debts at public organizations, we cannot raise national competitiveness and efforts to increase the quality of life for the people cannot help but suffer a setback. Labor and management should put their heads together and pool wisdom over how to reduce debts and reform lax management."
In a New Year's press conference on Monday, Park said she would pursue a three-year economic renovation plan to spur growth and increase per capita income, with particular focus on fixing abnormal practices, nurturing an innovative economy and boosting domestic demand.
Park also emphasized that fixing abnormalities would begin with public sector reform.
Last month, the government unveiled its public sector "normalization" plan in which it called on public companies to come up with measures to reduce their debts and rectify any "abnormal" management practices.
The move comes as major public organizations have come under fire for doling out what many see as excessive bonuses, benefits and perks to their employees despite their fast-growing debts and deteriorating business conditions.
"Reform forced by others is difficult to sustain and cannot help but have limits. What is important is for public organizations to reform themselves and work closely with the government, rather than trying to determine who is to blame for their debts," Park said in Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
"I hope that public organizations, which have greatly contributed to national development over the past decades through social overhead capital (SOC) construction and public services provision, will take active part in efforts for reform and changes so as to win back public confidence," she said. (Yonhap News)