Efficiency rating down

national January 31, 2015 01:00

By The Nation

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Thai bureaucracy's performance worse despite more staff

THE efficiency of the Thai bureaucracy has dropped over the past ten years despite a 50-per cent increase in personnel and a threefold hike in the budget for civil servants’ salary and benefits, a study by Thailand Future Foundation (TFF) has found.
The TFF cited a World Bank survey on efficiency of the Thai bureaucracy, showing it has dropped from 65 to 74th in a 196-country ranking. And corruption in the public sector had also got worse – falling from a ranking of 91st to 98th in a survey by the World Economic Forum.
The latter survey also ranked cronyism among Thai bureaucrats in a low position – 93 in a 148-country ranking, down with Malawi and India.
The number of civil servants, state employees and contract workers in total is now at 2.2 million – a 50 per-cent increase from 10 years ago, said the World Bank survey, which was released late last year. 
The number of those in the two latter positions has increased six times and their salary base has been heightened to match those offered by private companies.
Regular government spending on these personnel and other benefits including medical bills averages Bt1.1 trillion each year, which accounts for nearly half the government’s annual fiscal spending. 
Meanwhile, other spending on government personnel is about 7 per cent of gross domestic product, compared to six per cent in Malaysia, five in the Philippines and three in Singapore.
A rise was given to employees of state-enterprise agencies recently, at an average 6.5 per cent, not long after a rise given to civil servants, at an average 4 per cent, with salary base set to be broaden to 4 per cent. These were the sixth rise over the decade.
Foundation executive chairman Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput said the survey would further highlight the importance of the much-awaited bureaucratic reform and should be made an urgent agenda. “Doing it now will be even better, as 40 per cent of the civil servants will be retiring in the next 15 years,” he added.

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