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Ministers against cancellation of offices

IT WILL NOT be as easy as hoped to abolish construction, education, and other specialized state offices at the regional level, according to the Pravda daily.

Four out of five ministers whose sectors are affected by the government’s plan to cut the offices are determined to defend them against extinction.

The greatest resistance is expected over education offices, which employ around 400 people. “They will not be cancelled,” says Education Ministry spokeswoman Viera Trpišová.

On the contrary, Education Minister Ján Mikolaj of the Slovak National Party (SNS) has called for the number of education offices to increase from the current 8 to 16 or even 24.

More offices would allow greater control of the funds that flow through them to municipalities, which administer individual schools, the minister said.

Other ministers nominated by the SNS, such as Construction Minister Marián Janušek, are equally unimpressed with the plan to cancel the specialized regional state offices.

“I told the heads of the regional construction offices that I would do my best to defend the status quo,” Janušek said.

The government plans to close specialized regional state offices in the course of next year as part of an overall goal of downsizing the state bureaucracy by 20 percent to reduce state expenditures.

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