Ministries must be well coordinated

Desperate over the red tape and repeated delays dogging his reform program, Lord Samuel, a British minister, famously said that a public servant is someone who has a problem for every solution. While Lord Samuel tried to change Britain’s public administration, he met with resistance from public servants who expressed concerns about repercussions of certain reforms and who put brakes on daring proposals by setting up committees entrusted with conducting an in-depth (and time-consuming) study of all the parameters. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis must feel the same way. The conservative premier is happy to see a growing economy. At the same time, however, he is disappointed to see that the obstacles raised by public sector officials are preventing the economy from growing at an ever-higher speed. It is obvious the prime minister sees that competitiveness is soaring while other indices are going in the opposite direction. Investment has failed to take off because of mistakes, omissions and delays. Inefficient ministers are no help either. The public sector is a vast apparatus. Naturally, not everything moves at the same speed. Some sectors are leading the pack while others follow. A government must help the laggards catch up with the leaders, not drag them down. This innate problem of the public sector can be solved by improving cooperation between the different ministries to ensure they are at an equal footing on a political level. Fulfilling the common goals requires mobilization of all forces. Problems are there to be solved, not to serve as an alibi for the state’s inaction.

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