Privatisation policy a mess, says senate commission
Successive governments made a mess of selling off and semi-privatising state companies such as post and telecommunications company PTT, Dutch Railways (NS) and the benefit agency UWV, according to a senate inquiry.
The senate commission, led by ChristenUnie senator Roel Kuiper was set up to investigate how privatisation has been handled since the 1980s when the government began hiving off state companies.
The lack of well-defined management frameworks or a coordinated vision have not led to desired effects such as greater efficiency, the commission’s report says.
Where simplification and smaller government was the goal, increasing management complexity has been the result. Political decision-making is capricious and politicians have lost sight of how privatisation is being carried out.
‘There was no coordination of policies, no common road map but there were many differences in the implementation of decisions by ministries,’ the report states.
The commission recommends an overhaul of the whole system to bring government, services and the public back together.
The decision to turn the railways into an arms-length government company and divide it into train company NS and track operator ProRail is of particular concern, says the commission.
That decision should be overturned if there is no improvement in cooperation between the two companies, the report says.
Privatisation has increased the distance between government and people, says the commission. A recent survey by the socio-cultural policy unit SCP for the commission found 41% of the population thinks privatisation is damaging to public interests.
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