Ministries request 6.5% budget hike

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Ministries request 6.5% budget hike

Korea’s government ministries and agencies requested a 6.5 percent hike in their budget for next year as they want to spend more on education, welfare and national defense, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said yesterday.

The request made by 51 government ministries and state agencies seek to spend a combined 346.6 trillion won ($303.1 billion) for next year, compared to 325.4 trillion won in the 2012 budget, according to the ministry.

The rise is attributed to a 10.1 percent increase in money being asked to strengthen competitiveness of local universities and more funds to be sent to regional education offices that manage the nation’s elementary through high schools. Total money being asked for the education sector stood at 50.1 trillion won, up from 45.5 trillion won in 2012.

Overall research and development related outlays have been marked up 6.2 percent to 17 trillion won from the year before, with national defense and welfare spending requests going up 7.6 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, the ministry said.

The request for national defense, which covers providing better welfare for soldiers, reached 35.5 trillion won, with money being requested to improve welfare and public health topping 97.5 trillion won.

In addition, the foreign affairs and unification ministries asked for 4.1 trillion won, or a 5.1 percent on-year raise in their budgets, for the new year, to increase official development assistance for developing countries and prepare for reunification with North Korea.

However, the budget request for social overhead capital (SOC), and the industry and energy fields dropped 10.1 percent and 5.4 percent each from money earmarked in the 2012 budget.

SOC request stood at 20.8 trillion won while industry and energy outlays stood at 14.3 trillion won.

Demand for culture, tourism and sports fell 5.5 percent to 4.3 trillion won, with budget for the environment also moving down 6.6 percent to 5.6 trillion won, according to the ministry. Request for farming and fisheries fell 4.8 percent to 17.3 trillion won.

Based on the requests, the ministry plans to hold consultations with all concerned parties in the coming months before determining its final budget proposal for 2013. The final proposal will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval by the end of September. Yonhap

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