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BY MARIUS KOPCSAY

Bureaucratic ghosts

State offices continue to receive funding for people they do not employ. In 2005 the state paid Sk500 million to fund posts in the civil service that had not been filled, while in 2004 the figure was around Sk600 million.

State offices continue to receive funding for people they do not employ. In 2005 the state paid Sk500 million to fund posts in the civil service that had not been filled, while in 2004 the figure was around Sk600 million.

The principle is that if a ministry is supposed to employ 200 people in theory, it receives funding in keeping with this number. If the ministry actually manages to get by with 180 people, it doesn't have to return the unspent money to the state budget, but instead gets to distribute it among the reduced staff in the form of bonuses. According to data from the Government Office, which in 2005 received money for 90 posts that were actually vacant, the unused money was equivalent to bonuses of about Sk100,000 per head.

Of course, many state employees do not get even a whiff of bonus money, which is often distributed as unfairly as the extra work that has to be completed to make up for the missing staff. We can only guess what impact the spoils distribution system has on efficiency and costs in the state sector. On the one hand the state is trying to save through cuts in the education and health care sectors, while on the other it remains very generous with non-transparent bonus money.

The fictitious employee syndrome was widespread under the Dzurinda government and remains so under the current administration. If the Fico government is serious about saving money on the state sector, it should start here.


Pravda, January 24

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