Finance minister calls on parliament to approve record budget proposal

SEJONG, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's chief economic policymaker on Tuesday urged parliament to approve a record budget proposal for 2019, stressing that the budget approval is necessary to help resolve chronic problems such as low birth rate and dismal job conditions.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon paid a visit to floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties and expressed hopes that the 2019 budget proposal will be passed before the legally set deadline that falls on December 2.

The government budget proposal for next year calls for a 9.7 percent on-year rise in spending to 470 trillion won (US$422 billion), marking the fastest increase since 2009, when outlays jumped 10.6 percent in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Next year's budget spending also heralds a greater fiscal role in Asia's fourth-largest economy, where exports remain sound but private spending is showing signs of a slowdown.

The expansionary fiscal policy, among other things, is clearly aimed at boosting jobs. Under the proposal, some 23.5 trillion won will be spent on job creation schemes alone.

Poorer-than-expected jobs data is a hard blow to President Moon Jae-in, whose top economic agenda is to create more quality jobs.

The largest bulk of the 2019 budget will go to the health, welfare and labor sectors, with the total allocated hitting a record 162.2 trillion won.

In order to boost innovative growth, over 20 trillion won will be spent on research and development. In particular, some 5 trillion won will be earmarked to boost the platform economy and nurture eight key industries, such as drones and smart factories.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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