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(LEAD) New round of COVID-19 response extra budget to be worth 33 tln won: DP

All News 10:39 June 29, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 1, 4, 6, 8-10)

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to set aside 33 trillion won (US$29.2 billion) for its new round of extra budget aimed at fighting the aftermath of COVID-19, which includes the payment of stimulus checks to individuals in the bottom 80 percent income bracket, ruling party officials said Tuesday.

The decision was announced following a consultative meeting between the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the government, held earlier in the day at the National Assembly. The government plans to finalize drafting the new round of COVID-19 response supplementary budget, the second of its kind so far this year, and submit it to the National Assembly for approval within this week.

According to details announced by the DP's policy committee chief Rep. Park Wan-joo, the two sides agreed to pump in a total of about 36 trillion won in a new round of COVID-19 response assistance package. On top of the 33 trillion-won extra budget, to be solely financed by this year's excess tax revenue, the government will reallocate 3 trillion won from this year's existing budget to bankroll the 36 trillion-won extra spending, Park noted.

Nearly 16 trillion won of it, the DP official said, will be distributed as COVID-19 relief funds, including the "COVID-19 coexistence public assistance payment," a type of stimulus check that will benefit individuals in the bottom 80 percent income bracket, according to DP officials.

More than 1 trillion won will be allocated to finance a cash-back reward program that will benefit all credit card users regardless of their income levels.

The aid package also includes comprehensive assistance payments to small businesses hit hard by the country's antivirus measures, such as forced business restrictions. More than 1 million small businesses are expected to take advantage of the assistance.

The new round of COVID-19 response spending will separately include about 5 trillion won earmarked for the country's vaccination campaign as well as other disease prevention measures, officials said.

Another sum of up to 3 trillion won will be reserved for a special program aimed at boosting employment and stabilizing people's livelihoods in the aftermath of the economic destruction of the pandemic, officials said.

"At the core of this latest extra budget is an inclusive recovery strategy that aims to boost domestic consumption and nurture the vitality of the real economy," DP floor leader Rep. Yun Ho-jung said at the opening of the meeting.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said, "The government is seeking to submit the relevant extra budget bill within this week," expressing hopes that the bill could be speedily approved by the chamber in the provisional parliamentary session in July.

A consultative meeting between government officials and members of the ruling Democratic Party takes place at the National Assembly on June 29, 2021. (Yonhap)


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