Cheong Wa Dae, gov’t, ruling party vow to front-load new extra budget before Chuseok

SEOUL, Cheong Wa Dae, the government and the ruling party agreed Thursday to front-load the majority of the country’s newly approved fourth COVID-19 response extra budget before the upcoming traditional Chuseok holiday next week.
Under the agreement reached during the tripartite meeting, the government plans to execute around 5 trillion won (US$4.3 billion), or 70 percent, of the 7.8 trillion-won extra budget before the Chuseok autumn harvest holiday, which falls on next Thursday this year, Democratic Party spokesperson Choi In-ho said.
The extra budget, the country’s fourth supplementary spending this year to cushion the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The new round of budget aims to provide financial assistance to small merchants and self-employed people hit hard by the country’s tight social distancing rules in the wake of a recent virus resurgence. It has also been designed to financially benefit parents with young children after schools and day care centers were ordered to shut down during the tough social distancing adopted in light of the resurgence in mid-August.
The new budget also includes a 20,000-won mobile service subsidy per person for nationals aged between 16 and 34 as well as those aged 65 or above.
In a bid to expedite the spending, the government will capitalize on its administrative database and streamline the procedures for the application for assistance and the approval of the provision, according to the DP.
The assistance programs will also be promoted through social media and text messages to broaden their reach to those entitled.
The ruling party, in particular, asked for the government to pay extra attention to preventing any attempt to unjustly claim the stimulus checks, Choi noted.
The rest of the 7.8 trillion won budget, including 500 billion won, earmarked for sustaining jobs, will be distributed in October after the screening process needed to select eligible recipients, according to party officials.
The three-way meeting brought together DP Chairman Rep. Lee Nak-yon, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki and other presidential, government and party officials.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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