Korea working on support for firms hurt by disaster

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 22, 2014 - 20:32
  • Updated : May 22, 2014 - 20:32
The government plans to continue its efforts to provide assistance for businesses struggling with sluggish demand after a deadly ferry incident last month, the finance minister said Thursday.

“Though consumption activity is rebounding from a downturn seen in the wake of the Sewol ferry incident, the economy close to people’s daily life still remains quite tough,” Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok told a meeting with other policymakers in Seoul.

“The government will work actively to make consumption and corporate investment rebound as quickly as possible, while closely monitoring the overall economic trend,” he added.

The government is pushing for diverse support measures for victims, their families and even small companies whose business was affected by the sinking of the ferry, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Festivals, concerts and other public gatherings were canceled en masse as people mourned the tragedy, and consumer sentiment has also weakened, with retailers and the transportation and tourism industries being hit hardest by contracted spending.

On Wednesday, the government and the ruling Saenuri Party agreed to expand assistance to these businesses and other affected companies suffering from a fall in consumption. The assistance includes low-interest loans and special operation funds.

Hyun expressed concerns over the country’s overall industrial competitiveness, saying that the government will unveil measures to boost electronic commerce, a move aimed at helping local companies make inroads into overseas markets and also induce foreign investment here.

He also voiced his disappointment with public enterprises failing to accurately disclose their management and business information to the public.

“Disappointedly, almost all public organizations stopped short of expectations in terms of accuracy and trustworthiness when it came to public disclosures,” Hyun said, adding that 291 out of 295 public companies were found to have not reported their management information as required.

The government will issue “stern” warnings to the CEOs of companies involved, while drawing up measures to prevent such an incident from happening again, he said.

The government is intensifying its efforts to make the management of public organizations transparent by providing more information on their debt and others that could reveal any lax management practices. (Yonhap)