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(LEAD) PM offers tax incentives to companies for job creation

All News 15:14 March 14, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more comments by prime minister)

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn pledged Monday to provide tax incentives to companies that create jobs for young adults.

The government will "make efforts to expand jobs for young adults," Hwang said at the opening ceremony of a job fair in the central city of Daejeon. He did not elaborate on the tax incentives for companies.

Young South Koreans have been hit hard by a prolonged economic slump as local companies remain reluctant to hire new workers.

The unemployment rate for those between 15 and 29 jumped to a seven-month high of 9.5 percent in January from 8.4 percent tallied in December, according to government data.

President Park Geun-hye has described job creation as a key priority of the government.

Hwang then called for a drastic reform in the country's financial sector in a way that can be felt among ordinary people.

He made the comments in a separate visit to a branch office of NH Nonghyup Bank, the country's fourth-largest lender by assets, in Daejeon.

The visit came as local banks and brokerage houses began introducing a new individual savings account, which allows customers to manage a wide range of financial products such as funds and stock investment accounts by signing up with a single institution.

The new banking platform has drawn attention from customers as the government offers tax exemptions of up to 2 million won (US$1,600) on profits.

Still, consumer groups have expressed concerns over the possibility of so-called "incomplete sales," where financial institutions may fail to give enough information to consumers about the product such as its detailed contract terms and risks.

Hwang also called on financial institutions to brace for readiness to deal with any possible cyberattacks from North Korea.

South Korea's intelligence agency said last week that North Korean hackers had controlled the internal computer network of a South Korean firm whose security software is used by more than 20 million South Koreans for financial transactions on the Internet.

The National Intelligence Service said no ordinary South Koreans were affected and the damage was restricted to the company's server as the agency took joint measures with the company to deal with the attack.


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