Main opposition party eyes sharp cut in gov’t 2019 budget plans on jobs, N.K.

SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said Friday it will seek to sharply cut the government's 2019 budget spending plans for short-term jobs and inter-Korean projects.

On Thursday, the National Assembly began to review the record 470 trillion-won (US$412.4 billion) budget proposal that included increased expenditures for job creation and social welfare.

The LKP said that it will seek to cut some 8 trillion won from the budget allocated for short-term job creation. The government set a record 23.5 trillion won to boost job creation.

The conservative party earlier denounced the government's plan to increase short-term jobs as a stopgap measure aimed at manipulating state statistics on jobs.

The country's job market remains in a severe slump with smaller firms and shop owners dismissing part-timers and temporary workers amid steep hikes in the minimum wage.

"The government seeks to build its image as a government that focuses on job growth by sharply boosting expenditures on short-term, part-time job creation," the LKP said. "Eight trillion won should be cut out of the budget."

The LKP said it is also poised to curtail 640 billion won from the state inter-Korean cooperation fund.

The government set aside 1.1 trillion won for the fund in 2019 by taking into account a potential increase in inter-Korean cooperative projects amid rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula.

The South allocated 420 billion won in the budget for building economic foundations that include 290 billion won for projects to reconnect railways across the border and build social infrastructure.

"We will seek to scrap the money allocated for railways and social infrastructure at a time when the road map for North Korea's denuclearization has yet to be released," the party said.

The LKP also plans to cut 3.6 billion won related to the government's income-driven growth policy out of the budget.

But it said it wants to increase spending on maternity subsidies, research and development (R&D), and infrastructure building aimed at boosting the economy at provincial areas.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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