Ministers vow more support for economy billsA day after Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho addressed the nation in order to put pressure on lawmakers to pass pending economy-related bills, he met with the heads of business lobbying groups on Tuesday to promise additional support.
The attendees included Yoo and five other economy-related ministers, and heads of the six major business lobbying groups, including the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), Korea International Trade Association and Korea Federation of SMEs.
“The government is willing to do anything to support businesses as they actively invest and create jobs,” Yoo said at a meeting held at the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Tuesday. “The National Assembly should not turn a blind eye to the economically struggling working class. We want to aggressively overhaul existing regulations and implement new rules that encourage companies to start new businesses.”
FKI Chairman Huh Chang-soo also requested the ministers do more to pass the pending bills, which he said “will help companies invest in future growth engine businesses and expand into more markets overseas.”
He also said the labor reform bills being up in the air is making the situation worse for the private sector, which has already suffered from stagnant economic conditions like cheap oil prices and weak consumer sentiment.
Yoo and the business lobbyists again called for the need to pass 18 bills aimed at economic revitalization and structural reforms. The most emphasized were two economic revitalization bills and four labor reform bills.
The two economic revitalization bills include the so-called One-Shot Act, which cuts down on the legal procedures and provides tax cuts for businesses of any size that wish to voluntarily sell off a business unit or purchase that of another company.
The four labor reform bills cut the maximum number of hours salaried employees can work per week, expand unemployment benefits for those who lose their job, allow seniors to return to their former jobs as temporary contract workers and pay compensation for accidents that happen while a worker is on the way to his or her job.
The ruling and opposition parties reached a consensus to pass the 18 bills in December last year, but the opposition later refused, saying that they encourage employers to hire more people as irregular workers.
BY KIM JI-YOON [email@example.com]