Supplementary budget on hold

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Supplementary budget on hold

The 11 trillion won ($9.8 billion) supplementary budget the government says is needed to boost the economy 0.2 percentage points has been long awaited.

The wait just got longer.

The supplementary budget passed the Special Committee on Budget and Account on Thursday, which was the last hurdle before a vote by the main assembly, a day after the ruling and opposition parties agreed to pass it late Wednesday.

However, after sitting at the National Assembly for 38 days, the bill was taken hostage once again after ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers stormed out of the main assembly in protest of comments made by National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun. Chung spoke about Presidential aid Woo Byung-woo, who is being investigated over numerous corruption allegations, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defense system.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho has repeatedly requested that lawmakers pass the budget, saying that the longer they take, the weaker its impact.

According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Thursday, the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts has cut funding related to the ongoing shipping and shipbuilding restructuring, including the issuing of foreign exchange stabilization bonds and the budget for the Korea Development Bank.

The lawmakers raised budgets for health, welfare and education that would have a more direct impact on the livelihoods of Korean middle and low income households.

In fact, lawmakers made a net cut of 105.4 billion won from the government’s initial proposal: they raised spending in the budget by 360 billion won and cut 465.4 billion won.

Lawmakers reduced the budget for a foreign exchange stabilization bond by 200 billion won from the initial government proposal.

The budget allocated to KDB, which is the main creditor of DSME and Hanjin Shipping, which filed for court receivership on Wednesday, has been cut as well. The lawmakers slashed 127.2 billion won from the initial 130 billion won, bringing it down to 65 billion won.

The biggest increase was improving schooling infrastructure such as renovating the urethane running tracks that turned out to contain high levels of led. The second-largest increase was in medical services aid provided to people who live on government subsidies for minimum living standards, which added 80 billion won. The government also increased 28 billion won for national disease vaccinations for diseases such as influenza.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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