Details of 2017 budget disclosedThe government announced Friday it plans to spend more than 65 trillion won ($58.2 billion) next year to revitalize the economy.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, a total of 65.3 trillion won will be spent improving exports and supporting small to mid-size firms so that they can become more competitive both domestically and globally.
Most of the money, in fact, will be funneled to local governments to be used to stimulate regional economies.
The government has allocated 604.1 billion won to help slowing exports, which is nearly 42.5 percent more compared to this year’s 423.8 billion won.
In fact, exports last month grew year-on-year, but that was for the first time in 19 months.
According to the Trade Ministry, the government has newly allocated 177.8 billion won to support local companies trying to export their goods overseas.
For example, the government will introduce a totally new export voucher program, which will allow businesses to ask for services they actually need, instead of receiving fixed services. Currently, the Trade Ministry and Small and Medium Business Administration separately run such programs and they will be combined.
“We will remove bureaucratic red tape and cooperate with each other to allow companies to have more choices in striving to become more competitive overseas,“ said Park Il-jun, assistant minister for industrial policy at the Trade Ministry.
Earlier this week, the government said the budget for 2017 was set at 400.7 trillion won, up 3.7 percent compared to this year’s, and said the purpose was to improve average Koreans’ daily lives by creating more jobs and giving more incentives to have kids.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and Ministry of Interior held a press briefing Friday morning at the Sejong Government Complex detailing specific plans for next year’s budget.
The government will raise the amount of financial aid from 11.4 billion won this year to 15.2 billion won next year for five growing export industries such as cosmetics.
“Five industries’ exports accounted for 3.6 percent last year but the figure has gone up to 4.4 percent this year through July, and the government will give more support to them for their overseas marketing using hallyu [the so-called wave of Korean culture],” said Park.
The government has allocated more money for regional governments by 5 percent from this year’s to 56.6 trillion won.
“Regional governments can use the expanded budget to help big businesses so that they can create more jobs and improve infrastructure, such as highways and railroads, in order to help companies become more competitive,” said Park.
The government also expanded its budget to support small to mid-size companies by 0.3 percent from 8.09 trillion won to 8.11 trillion won.
BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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