Government must become more efficient, Ma says

By Lee Hsin-fang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday lauded Taiwan’s advancing global competitiveness and infrastructure as highlighted by this year’s global competitiveness report compiled by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management and Development, while encouraging the nation to learn from Hong Kong and Singapore in the area of government efficiency.

Citing the report, which was released in May, Ma said Taiwan ranked seventh in terms of competitiveness among the 59 countries surveyed, placed fifth in government efficiency from tenth place last year and climbed to the No. 12 spot in infrastructure.

The institute carried out evaluations of countries’ competitiveness on the basis of four indicators: government efficiency, infrastructure, business efficiency and economic performance.

“Despite the progress, Taiwan still trails behind other Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore in government efficiency. We must reflect on why these countries’ governments outperform Taiwan’s in efficiency when all three nations are formed by a Chinese society [sic],” Ma said.

Ma made the remarks during his address to a symposium, titled “The 2012 International Conference on Human Resource Development in the Public Sector Innovation and Development of Training,” hosted by the Examination Yuan’s Civil Service Protection and Training Commission in Taipei.

Praising public servants for delivering decent performances in policy formulation and execution, Ma said that there was still room for improvement.

Ma said that while the government has worked to push ahead with structural reforms for the past four years, the nation is still facing the same problems in its political climate, administrative efficiency and quality of service.

“In terms of political climate, we demand rectitude. When it comes to administrative efficiency, we call for effectiveness and good work. In the aspect of the attitude [of public servants], we expect amiability,” Ma said, adding that civil officials also needed to work on their innovative ability.

Turning to economic issues, Ma said that the country now requires different talents as the government has endeavored to remove trade barriers and push for the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and free-trade agreements by boosting exchanges with many countries.

At present, Taiwan takes the initiative to find new major trading partners, Ma said, which can only be achieved by keeping an extra close watch over the country’s domestic industries and those of other nations, while seeking a common ground on which both sides could coexist and mutually prosper.

“However, the country is in severe shortage of talented workers, particular highly skilled ones, whose cultivation requires more than one year of training,” Ma said, adding that solutions have been reached during a series of meetings held to address the issue.

Urging the government to not only abide by conventions, but also to stay flexible, Ma said the cultivation of talent must be “in sync” with the volatile international environment and national demand in order to fully actualize the functions of public servants.