Su­per­vise civil ser­vants’ trips

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Mul­ti­ple mea­sures should be taken to mon­i­tor and su­per­vise “of­fi­cial tours” of pub­lic ser­vants, to pre­vent scan­dals such as “pub­lic funds used to pay for of­fi­cial’s visit to in­spect trash bins”, says an ar­ti­cle on xin­huanet. Ex­cerpts:

The use of pub­lic funds for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials’ tours has dropped dras­ti­cally after the cen­tral gov­ern­ment launched its aus­ter­ity and anti-cor­rup­tion drives. But some of­fi­cials are still us­ing pub­lic funds for their trips, cit­ing ridicu­lous ex­cuses such as in­spec­tion of fences and trash bins, or trav­el­ing abroad to check out “for­eign cows”.

Although el­i­gi­ble to use pub­lic funds for their travel, some of­fi­cials go on mean­ing­less tours that in no way ben­e­fit their work. For­mer Repub­lic of Korea prime min­is­ter Lee Soo-sung once said there was no need for Chi­nese of­fi­cials to visit the ROK to learn from its New Coun­trysideMove­ment. In fact, a lo­cal vil­lage sec­re­tary who had been to the ROK said that he had learned noth­ing from the business trip to the coun­try de­spite the high ex­pen­di­ture.

Of course, there are enough rea­sons to use pub­lic funds to pay for some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials’ trips. But the prob­lem is that, most of th­ese of­fi­cials visit only touristy spots in­stead of do­ing mean­ing­ful work or re­search. Ob­vi­ously, they for­get the rea­son for be­ing in a for­eign coun­try or re­gion.

Apart from launch­ing thor­ough probes against sus­pected bungling of­fi­cials and pun­ish­ing the guilty, there are other thingswe­can do to pre­vent the waste of pub­lic money. For ex­am­ple, in­for­ma­tion on of­fi­cial trips by civil ser­vants should be made pub­lic in ad­vance so that peo­ple can su­per­vise and eval­u­ate their ac­tiv­i­ties.

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