Published : 2013-01-17 19:49
Updated : 2013-01-17 19:49
One of the key features of government reorganization pursued by President-elect Park Geun-hye is the creation of the post of deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Park has proposed that the minister of finance and strategy double as deputy prime minister.
Policy coordination would be the minimum that would be required of a deputy prime minister for economic affairs. There should be much to coordinate if the Park administration is to maintain consistency in divergent economic policy.
On one hand, her administration will have to spend more on welfare if it is to make good on her election promise. On the other, it will be called on to boost growth potential, investing heavily in education, research and development. It will be also pressured to create jobs, push up actual growth and do many other difficult jobs.
All these demands, some of them conflicting with each other, will have to be coordinated and prioritized if they are to be implemented in a coherent manner. Under the current administration of President Lee Myung-bak, the task has been placed in the hands of the minister of finance and strategy, the first among equals as far as economic policy is concerned.
During her campaign, however, Park apparently concluded there was a limit to what the finance and strategy minister could do. Hence she committed herself to resurrecting the post of deputy minister for economic affairs, which Lee had abolished. She said recently that her administration would need a “control tower” to coordinate policies, which are less efficient, regardless of their quality, when they are compartmentalized.
In announcing the government reorganization plan Tuesday, the head of Park’s transition team said she decided to create the new post, aiming at overcoming economic crises of both domestic and foreign origin, speeding up recovery and promoting prosperity. The job definition for the deputy prime minister, however, can hardly be said to have been made clear-cut.
It is not clear yet whether the deputy prime minister will limit his role to policy coordination or initiate new policies on his own. Much will depend on how much power Park will delegate to the person she will soon select to support a mission, among others, to finance her election promise to increase spending on welfare by an annual average of 27 trillion won. That will likely be a daunting task, given that growth has been slow in the wake of the 2008-09 global crisis.