President Park Geun-hye ordered welfare officials Tuesday to make sure that state subsidies and other welfare benefits won't fall into the wrong hands, saying plugging such leaks in the welfare budget is a priority if the government is to better service the people.
Park issued the order during a joint policy briefing by the ministry of health and welfare, the labor ministry and the gender equality ministry, pointing out that about 550 billion won ($513 million) is wasted a year due to the budget leaks.
"We have been pushing for preventive measures after setting up a task force in August last year, but we have not seen sufficient tangible results," Park said. "We should push in a speedier manner for improvement in the system and regulations aimed at rooting out welfare budget leaks."
Park also renewed calls for sweeping deregulation in the services sector, saying the area is where a number of quality jobs can be created. However hard the government makes efforts to create decent jobs, it would be impossible to reach the objective without deregulation, she said.
The policy briefing was held in the government complex in the central administrative city of Sejong. While the ministry of health and welfare and the labor ministry attended in person, the gender equality ministry attended the session through a video linkup. (Yonhap News)