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Finance minister urges Assembly to pass economic stimulus bills

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Published : 2014-08-08 21:30
Updated : 2014-08-08 21:30

Choi Kyung-hwan, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs and finance minister, urged economic ministers Friday to step up their efforts to help pass economic stimulus bills pending in the National Assembly.

“Legislative support is needed from the National Assembly in order to revive the economy. However, many of the economic stimulus bills are still pending, dragging down the government’s push to jumpstart the slowing economy,” Choi said in an emergency meeting with economy-related ministers on Friday.

“In order to build up momentum to revitalize the economy, ministers should not leave this issue to their subordinates but bolster their efforts with strong resolution,” he added.

The government plans to set up a task force consisting of vice ministers to monitor the progress of around 30 pending bills. They are mainly designed to boost the nation’s investment, rejuvenate housing markets, and stabilize the livelihood of the public.

Industry watchers said it would not be easy for the bills to be passed during the provisional session of the National Assembly to be held on Aug. 19 as the opposition party has been more focused on the special law on the Sewol ferry sinking.

“It seems too late to pass the bills during the provisional session this month,” said Yoon Sung-wook, head of the general policy coordination division of the finance ministry. “However, we hope the most urgent bills such as the national basic living security act and medical act are passed during the regular session of the National Assembly to be held on Sept. 1.”

Through the proposed national basic living security act, the government seeks to lower the financial burden on low-income families. Currently, aged parents cannot receive government support if their children earn an income, even if it is below the minimum cost of living. If the bill is passed, they can receive support if the family’s total monthly income is less than 4.4 million won ($4,250).

Regarding the medical law, the bill is designed to allow local insurers to attract foreign patients. Currently, only medical centers are allowed to tend to overseas patients. If the bill is passed, it can boost the national service industry, as the country is now seeing a boom in the medical tourism industry.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization, around 400,000 people flew to South Korea for cosmetic surgery last year.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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