South Korea’s national debt rose to about 1,117 trillion won ($1.06 trillion) in 2013 mainly due to increased pension liabilities, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.
According to a settlement of accounts for last year’s budget compiled by the ministry and approved by the Cabinet, South Korea’s national debt including the central government’s debt and provisions came to 1,117.3 trillion won, up from 902.1 trillion won tallied a year earlier.
This represents 78.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
The amount was calculated by using accrual basis accounting rules, an accounting system in which revenues and expenses are recorded as they are earned and incurred, not when cash is received or paid. The government has used the accrual basis figures since 2012 in order to give a more accurate picture of the nature of the country’s indebtedness.
The hike in national debt comes mostly from an increase in the estimated amount of money that the government will have to give to beneficiaries in the future.
Last year’s pension provisions for public servants and soldiers came to 596.3 trillion won, up from 436.9 trillion won tallied a year earlier.
The amount is based on the “projected benefits obligation” standards where future pay increases are reflected in calculating pension provisions.
The ministry said that based on the “vested benefits obligation” standards the government used until 2012, pension provisions would grow by just 19.2 trillion won.
Meanwhile, the government brought in 292.9 trillion won through taxes and other earnings last year, up from the previous year’s 282.4 trillion won. It spent a total of 286.4 trillion won, up from 274.8 trillion won a year earlier.
The country’s consolidated fiscal surplus was estimated at 14.2 trillion won last year, but the fiscal account, excluding social security funds, posted a 21.1 trillion won deficit, the largest since 2009, when the shortfalls came to 43.2 trillion won. (Yonhap)