Lifting the country’s competitiveness ranking to the top 10 in the world was part of the reason behind the government’s proposal to streamline the Executive Yuan, said Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) Chairman Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday.
Taiwan has ranked between No. 11 and No. 18 in the past five years in the global competitiveness index rankings compiled by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development, while its ranking in terms of government efficiency fell between No. 16 and No. 23 during the same period.
“Downsizing the Executive Yuan’s agencies won’t guarantee a better ranking, but it surely will help promote the nation’s competitiveness,” Jiang said while unveiling a government plan for institutional reform at a forum organized by National Chengchi University’s Center for Public and Business Administration Education.
The initiative for reconstructing the Executive Yuan dates back to 1988, when a taskforce was set up by then premier Yu Kuo-hwa (�?�).
Twenty-two years and 11 premiers later, five separate plans have been sent to the legislature for approval. All have been turned down.
“The Executive Yuan created many new agencies in the past 22 years, but not one unit was deactivated … which has resulted in overlap in functions between agencies, higher costs for policy coordination and public confusion over who’s in charge,” Jiang said.
The RDEC said the Executive Yuan has 39 agencies, more than twice the number in Japan, South Korea and Finland.
Jiang said the RDEC’s initial proposal, to be finalized by the end of this month, seeks to see the number of agencies cut by one-third by 2011.
Under the proposal, the Council for Cultural Affairs, the Environmental Protection Administration, the Department of Health, the Council of Agriculture and the Council of Labor Affairs would be upgraded to ministry status.
The proposal also suggests that agencies with similar functions be merged. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications would be merged with the Public Construction Commission, the Ministry of Education would be merged with the Sports Affairs Council and the Council of Economic and Development would be merged with the RDEC.
The proposal also suggests abolishing the Government Information Office and moving some of its work to the cultural ministry, merging the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission with the Mainland Affairs Council and subsuming the Atomic Energy Council into the National Science Council.
The RDEC also proposed the creation of a new council to address marine issues.