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S. Korea to tighten expenses to finance COVID-19 countermeasures


Vice Finance Minister Koo Yun-cheol. (Yonhap)
Vice Finance Minister Koo Yun-cheol. (Yonhap)


South Korea will save more than 300 billion won ($246 million) in 2021-2024 by aborting or merging state-subsidized projects, the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday.

“We have made a rigorous assessment this year as an effective fiscal operation has become more crucial than ever in order to overcome the fallout of COVID-19,” said Vice Finance Minister Koo Yun-cheol in a state subsidy management committee meeting at Seoul Government Complex.

Later in the day, Koo was named as the new chief of the Office for Government Policy Cordination.

The committee meeting was held to decide on whether to sustain the funding for 241 ongoing state-subsidized projects worth 8.6 trillion won in total.

Of them, 87 or 36.1 percent were subject to termination, merger or budget cut down. The figure was up 9.8 percentage point from a year earlier.

“We have filtered out projects that overlap with others, as well as the accomplished ones and underachieving ones,” said the vice minister.

The assessment, drafted by private experts and confirmed by the government committee, will be reflected in next year’s state budget plan and submitted to the National Assembly in September.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy is set to provide 1.5 trillion won in special subsidies to irregular workers who lost their income or suffered crucial blows amid the COVID-19 quarantines. Combined with its separate plan to pay a special disaster relief fund to people, the series of actions are expected to weigh upon the nation’s fiscal capacity.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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