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Land Ministry set to spend in 2009

Dec 23,2008
A bridge connecting Gimhae and Busan under construction in the Nakdong River, one of the four rivers set to be refurbished next year. [YONHAP]

Looser real estate regulations, early execution of infrastructure projects and expanding benefits to low-income families are the top priorities of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs for 2009.

However, some deregulation, including lifting the ‘speculative’ status for three districts in southern Seoul, which the market had been expecting, were left out after opposition parties strongly resisted the measure.

In a report to the Blue House yesterday, the Land Ministry chose 10 major projects for next year that focus on promoting investment, creating jobs and green growth.

To achieve its goals, the Land Ministry plans to spend 65 percent of the 23.4 trillion won ($17.88 billion) budgeted for social overhead capital in the first six months of next year, compared to 47 percent this year.

The Land Ministry expects the move to create 650,000 jobs and provide 79 trillion won in economic effect.

The projects include spending 14 trillion won on the refurbishment of four rivers including the Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan rivers.

The ministry will appropriate 6.6 trillion won for projects that break ground in early January.

The Land Ministry next year will also push for the easing of restrictions on real estate transactions for homes built on public land in population control areas. It wants the resale restriction to be slimmed down from the current three to seven years to one to five years.

The ministry also plans various benefits including lower taxes when purchasing an apartment or after one is owned. It will also build 130,000 apartments for low-income families.

As relief for low-income families, the monthly apartment service fees for apartments for low-income households will be reduced by 40 percent until 2010.

With regards to SOC projects, the government hopes to restart work on the Seoul-Incheon canal in March. The canal is expected to be complete by 2011.

The government will be investing 8.5 trillion won, which includes money from the private sector, developing the northern port in Busan.

The Busan northern port, which was originally targeted for completion in 2019, will now be finished by 2015.

To complete projects early, the Land Ministry will cut down on administrative red tape, such as shortening environmental evaluation periods from the current 30 months to 10 months.

The Land Ministry report, however, did not include several expected measures.

The Land Ministry and the Finance Ministry had reportedly agreed to lift the ‘speculative’ status for Gangnam, Seocho and Songpa, which were blamed for real estate speculation in the early and mid-2000s.

Additionally, a government plan to roll back the capital gains tax on newly purchased apartments resold within five years after acquisition was not included in the report.


By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]



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