Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet set to streamline government institutions

REDUCTION Cabinet will reduce the number of government entities from 35 to 20 and will cause the loss of upwards of 14,000 public sector jobs

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet is gearing up efforts to downsize itself from 35 administrative entities to 20 by the end of this month following the passage of the Standard Organic Law of Central Government Agencies (中央政府機關組織基準法) in the legislature in June.

"In accordance with the law, we're required to present draft amendments to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) to the lawmaking body for further review by the end of this month," Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) was quoted as saying in a press release made available to the media yesterday morning.

Under the draft, the Cabinet would be streamlined from 35 administrative bodies to 20, including 13 ministries, four commissions and five independent entities.

The Cabinet had originally proposed to downsize to 27, including four independent institutions.

Opposition parties, however, have proposed another version to require the legislature's approval for the establishment of the Cabinet's independent institutions.

The proposed bill also sets the number of ministries at 12, commissions at three and independent institutions at five.

The Cabinet in April 2002 approved three draft bills that would help the government slim down.

The Standard Organic Law of Central Government Agencies, approved by the legislature in June this year, provides a legal basis for the central government to establish independent institutions and related subdivisions.

Draft amendments to the Organic Law of the Executive Yuan would downsize the Cabinet from the current 35 administrative entities to 23, plus four independent institutions.

A separate draft bill, the Law Governing the Total Number of Civil Servants Employed by Central Government Agencies (中央政府機關總員額法), would set a ceiling for the total number of public servants working at the central government, including the five government branches, Presidential Office, National Security Council and National Assembly, between 200 and 500 people.

If approved by the legislature, the law would require the dismissal of more than 14,000 pubic servants employed by the central government.

The move is estimated to cost the government NT$4 billion in severance payments.

The three bills will apply to all public servants employed at central government institutions, except for those employed by public colleges and universities, who fall into a separate category of public servants.

Government reform was one of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) key campaign promises.

To expedite the process, the Cabinet has set up a 25-member task force under the supervision of the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission to take charge of the downsizing plan.

The task force, Government Reform Committee, is composed of people from academic and business circles and the Cabinet.

With the implementation of the three bills, the Cabinet hopes to see a central government that is "more effective, more responsible, and more responsive to social change," the press statement said.

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