Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Executive Yuan to cut 13 departments

CUTTING THE FAT The Cabinet will trim its number of portfolios from 35 to 22 in line with legislation passed last month, but officials say no jobs will be eliminated


The Executive Yuan will undergo a major downsizing, with the number of its departments cut from the 35 to 22, a senior official said yesterday.

Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), chairman of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, made the announcement after a meeting of the Executive Yuan Restructuring Promotional Task Force.

The Cabinet had originally planned to restructure its 35 ministries, councils and commissions into 15 ministries and six councils or commissions.

But the opposition-controlled Legislative Yuan passed a Central Government Organization Standard Act (中央行政機關基準法) before going into its summer recess, which stipulates that the central government should be trimmed to 13 ministries and four councils plus no more than five independent commissions. The act took effect on June 23.

"The Cabinet has decided to modify its restructuring plan in accordance with the newly enact-ed law," Yeh said after the restructuring promotional task force meeting, which was presided over by Premier Yu Shyi-kun.

Yeh said the Executive Yuan will not seek to overturn or revise the law but will instead tailor its original plan to meet the legislature's requirements.

As to how the existing central government agencies will be restructured, Yeh said it will require further talks and assessments.

"In the future, the 13 ministries will form the central government's pillars and the four councils will be responsible for coordination," Yeh said, adding that the scenario of official duties and powers overlapping among different agencies will no longer occur.

Yeh said the Cabinet is scheduled to finalize a new version of its restructuring bill by the end of next month and refer it to the legislature for deliberation and approval in the legislative session that will start in September.

Asked whether the planned government downsizing will affect civil servants' rights, Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋), director of the Central Personnel Administra-tion, said the government will carry out the restructuring plan in a gradual manner and will make every possible effort to avoid undermining its employees' legitimate rights.

Lee said the central government now has 194,597 staff members. According to the new law, the Executive Yuan can hire up to 200,500 civil servants.

"In future organizational and work adjustments, civil servants' rights will be well protected.

Their ranks will not be thinned and none of them will be forced to retire," Lee added.

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