Ministries line up to resist government streamlining effort

Several ministries have voiced objections to the State Chancellery's idea to reduce the number of employees in public administration by 3,500 - or by approximately 6 percent, and to reform a number of minor government agencies and institutions, reported the LETA newswire November 13.

November 14, the Cabinet of Ministers will review the State Chancellery's public administration reform strategy. Among other things, the strategy proposes reducing the number of employees in public administration by 6 percent, as well as to revise the functions and possibly merge a number of small and very small state institutions, which is being opposed by a number of ministries.

The Justice Ministry points out that the reform strategy does not explain its purpose - whether the reform is a goal in and of itself, or it is aiming to save budget money. The ministry also objects to the ongoing liquidation of vacancies at all public administration institutions, without assessing the situation at each individual institution or organization. Likewise, the Finance Ministry believes that the job cuts should be assessed individually for each government agency.

The Health Ministry points out that the percentage of job cuts may not be the same for all state institutions and organizations. The ministry emphasizes that only vacant jobs may be liquidated, not the occupied ones.

The Interior Ministry insists that job cuts may not concern institutions and agencies that perform functions of national importance for internal and external security. The Interior Ministry also does not support liquidation of vacant jobs without evaluating why such vacancies exist.

Similar objections to the State Chancellery's reform have been raised by the Defense Ministry, Education and Science Ministry, Welfare Ministry, while the Agriculture Ministry believes that the reform will be practically possible to implement.

As for the State Chancellery's initiative to reform and possibly merge several small and very small state institutions, the Justice Ministry believes that all public institutions' efficiency must be assessed, regardless of how many people they employ. The Culture Ministry is of the same opinion.

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