<Imbalance Makes Everyone Happy>
Taxpayer money was spent to develop and build the DBAS, so the government has continued its efforts to reduce the budget and improve efficiency. As a matter of fact, the cost and benefit of the DBAS are not balanced, but the imbalance can satisfy everyone since the benefits far outweigh the cost.
The total cost for BSP, BPR, ISP, software development, and hardware equipment amounted to approximately about 60 million dollars. The cost was reduced as some equipment was reused. On average, 225 people a month were involved in developing the system, making the total personnel input 3,600 man months. Operation of the system costs roughly 13 million dollars annually, showing relatively high cost-effectiveness for a system with 58,000 users compared to systems of advanced nations. The World Governance Index issued by the World Bank demonstrates this fact. Korea has shown dramatic improvement in corruption control, rule of law and government effectiveness since the DBAS began.
<Table: Improvement in Governance>
Country Control of Corruption, Rule of Law, Government Effectiveness
2000 2010 2000 2010 2000 2010
Korea 0.29 0.42 0.86 0.98 0.74 1.18
Source: World Governance Indicator 2011, World Bank
One of the major benefits of the system is that it has enabled a preemptive and comprehensive response to global financial crises. In fact, when the global financial crisis hit in 2008, the government moved expeditiously to expand its fiscal spending to the public entities such as Housing and Land Company, effectively alleviating the pains suffered by vulnerable citizens. In the first half of 2009, it executed 60% of public project budgets earlier than planned, making Korea one of the three OECD countries, along with Australia and Poland, to post a positive economic growth during that period.
Another key benefit is that the government has become capable of managing fiscal risks and fiscal consolidation. As the DBAS displays the bigger picture of whole public finance, the government can accurately see how much revenue is generated from a source at a certain point of time, and how much debt is to be repaid in the future. The government knows what to expect in terms of potential risks in its finance. Moreover, corruption and dishonest dealings are basically restrained by conducting all transactions online. Though exact figures remain uncertain, the system helped save enormous amounts of money.
The disclosure of public financial information has improved the critical roles of the National Assembly and the public. The National Assembly can now easily analyze the performance of each policy action, and citizens can easily gain access to public financial information on the DBAS website. As national finance is mostly composed of taxpayer money, it makes sense that the taxpayers take part in monitoring how it is managed and spent. The DBAS now serves as the backbone of Korea, which aims to become an advanced country in terms of fiscal management.