Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday urged senior civil servants to reflect on how government policy affects people’s lives from a long-term perspective and to communicate with the public in plain language.
Jiang made the remarks in a speech delivered at a forum organized by the Cabinet’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission that brought together Cabinet appointees, deputy officials and high-level civil servants to discuss strategies for policy implementation.
It was a common problem inside government agencies that officials are often mired in routine trivialities that obscure the true goals of governance, Jiang said, adding that government officials should always have their long-term goals in mind.
Using the example of hosting a forum, the vice premier said the meaning of such an event was “neither just about whether invitations were printed wrong nor whether microphones used at the symposium were of bad quality.”
In a democracy, the government is subject to various critiques about its governance leveled by civic groups, media, lawmakers and local councilors, which forces government officials to put aside policy agendas and deal with emergent situations, Jiang said.
“No matter how well government officials handle emergent cases, whether they can sit down to think through policies related to the long-term development of the country in the next five to 10 years is more important,” he said.
Jiang also called on the audience to be actively involved in public communication.
“In the age of mass media, when people have no idea what the government has done for them, it amounts to the fact that the government has done nothing. For example, when the government spends several billions of dollars on a construction project, it has to let the public know the project’s effectiveness as well as who benefits,” Jiang added.