Published : 2013-09-16 10:57
Updated : 2013-09-16 10:57
South Korea's welfare spending will likely exceed 100 trillion won (US$92.4 billion) next year, with its ratio to the government's total budget rising to the highest level ever, the country's top economic policymaker said Monday.
"The scale of our investment in the welfare sector will likely exceed 100 trillion won for the first time, which would represent the largest portion of the total budget ever," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said during a meeting with lawmakers.
"We will push to spend more on welfare, education and culture next year than this year," he added. His remarks came as the government is drawing up its budget proposal for 2014 with an aim to submit it to the National Assembly in early October.
According to an earlier report, 52 government ministries and agencies have requested a combined 364.7 trillion won for their next year's budgets, up 6.6 percent from this year.
Their budget requests for social overhead capital (SOC), however, declined 12.9 percent to 21.2 trillion won. This is in line with the government's efforts to save money amid concerns over a possible revenue shortage.
A decline in SOC spending is still raising concerns that it could hurt the overall economic conditions by dampening investment in the private sector.
Hyun said that the government is now seeking to scale down its original SOC investment restructuring efforts in consideration of such concerns.
Meanwhile, as for the overall direction in preparing a budget proposal for next year, Hyun noted that the government will focus its efforts on creating jobs and boosting investment and exports in order to revitalize the economy. (Yonhap news)