Gov’t hopes frontloading budget spurs economy

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Gov’t hopes frontloading budget spurs economy

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance confirmed yesterday that the government is planning to frontload 60 percent of this year’s budget in the first six months.

“About 30 percent will be spent by the end of March and another 30 percent by the end of June, to help boost the economy amid persisting global economic uncertainties,” said Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan at this year’s first crisis management meeting yesterday.

Of the 289.5 trillion won ($272.7 billion) that is planned for this year, 173.8 trillion won will be spent for the first two quarters.

The minister called on each ministry as well as public organizations to conform to the budget plan, and said he may seek more money for projects that will strongly impact the economy, such as those related to social overhead capital, employment support and help for the working class. The total budget for these projects is 99.4 trillion won.

The ministry also decided to raise its first-quarter spending to 31.4 percent, aware that public institutions could be slower than the government expected in executing spending.

The temporary debt ceiling will be raised from 20 trillion won to 30 trillion won this year in a bid to supplement any financial shortages that may arise, the ministry said.

The government will also aggressively collect taxes if necessary, Bahk said.

The Finance Ministry hopes such government-wide on-the-spot reviews will help solve problems associated with the budget spending process, as well as streamlining the way the budget is executed and addressing inefficiency.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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