South Korean president urges for swift disbursement of pandemic aid

The 34.9-trillion-won (US$30.5-billion) supplementary budget should be disbursed swiftly to pandemic-hit businesses and people.
By: | August 2, 2021

President Moon Jae-in said this in a meeting with economy-related ministers on the livelihoods of the population amid the long-drawn pandemic. It was unprecedented for Moon to convene such a session with ministers for discussions solely on such issues. 

“Speed matters from now on. It is urgent to relieve the weight of the agony that the owners of small businesses and (other) vulnerable people are enduring,” he said during the meeting held at the Blue House with the finance, labour, health and SMEs ministers in attendance. 

The president added that the government should prevent income and asset gaps from widening by strengthening the social and employment safety nets. “The government’s budget for next year should also be expansionary,” Moon was quoted as saying by presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee. 

Finance minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will expand the budget for loans to low income and low credit people to between 9 trillion won (US$7.85 billion) and 10 trillion won (US$8.73 billion). 

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Moon also cited the raising of the country’s 2021 economic growth outlook by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week from 3.6% to 4.3%. It reflects confidence in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy and the potential of its people, said the president. 

However, he cautioned that there is no guarantee that the country will achieve the revised growth rate this year unless it is successful in curbing the spread of the virus, according to Yonhap.