The National Assembly has given the green light to a record 29.3 billion U.S. dollar supplementary budget aimed at cushioning the economic damage of COVID-19.
In a plenary session late Friday, the revised budget, which was cut by 170 million dollars from the government’s initial proposal has been passed with the support of 179 out of the 187 lawmakers present for the voting.
The latest supplementary budget is the third of its kind this year, following the first, worth 9.6 billion dollars in March, and the second, worth 10 billion dollars in April.
By sector, a massive 9.5 billion dollars has been allocated to support the tax revenue shortfall, 8.3 billion to stabilize the job market and the social safety net and 4.2 billion to subsidize small businesses and local companies in hard-hit industries.
It also set some 2.7 billion dollars to boost domestic consumption and exports and another 4 billion for the so-called “New Deal” projects aimed at achieving future economic growth.
Compared to the government’s proposal, parts of the budget allocated to help universities refund tuition fees and give free influenza vaccines for the elderly has been increased, while the budget for projects in business and energy sectors has been decreased.
The government is expected to fund the budget by issuing around 19.8 billion dollars in state bonds, while revising its spending plans in other areas.
It plans to implement at least 75 percent of it within the next three months. Lawmakers from the main opposition United Future Party slammed the latest plan, claiming it puts the burden on future generations.
They did not participate in the voting as they’ve been boycotting the whole process in opposition to the ruling party’s allocation of standing committee chairs to its own lawmakers.
By Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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