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(LEAD) Park calls for continued effort to push forward public sector reform

All News 14:03 June 14, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more remarks from Park in 4th para; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday called for continued effort to revamp the public sector, reiterating that it is the "starting point" for inducing reform in the private sector.

During a meeting with government ministers, heads of state-run firms and public organizations, Park also urged them to make an "all-out" effort to establish a performance-focused work environment that moves away from the deep-rooted culture favoring seniority and retool their organizations to focus on key functions.

"(I) urge you to push for public sector reform with the determination that we will push for it until the end," she told the gathering of some 220 including the heads of 126 state-run corporations and public organizations.

"Everyone should put all their energy into it," she added, expressing her hope that public corporations will put themselves at the vanguard of reform efforts to help revitalize the economy.

Presiding over the meeting for the second time following the first in 2014, Park took stock in the progress made by public organizations -- once under intense criticism for their snowballing debt and poor management -- that have carried out a government-led "normalization" initiative.

Since late 2013, the government has carried out a plan to overhaul public organizations. Under this plan, it has pushed to reduce debt, improve management structure and introduce a "wage peak system," a scheme intended to tackle the youth unemployment problem.

In December 2013, the government implemented the "first stage" through which state-run organizations have been encouraged to pare down their unnecessary welfare expenditures and debt.

The second-stage was initiated last year. Under it, the government has streamlined or reorganized public organizations in a series of sectors including social overhead capital, culture and agriculture, and adopted a wage peak system that has created some 8,000 jobs for the 2016-17 period.

To encourage competition and enhance work productivity, the government has also pushed to expand a performance-based pay system. A total of 120 state-run firms and public organizations have switched to the new wage system.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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