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Lee vows full compensation to small businesses hit by pandemic

Politics 17:11 December 20, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, on Monday called for the provision of full compensation to pandemic-hit small businesses as he unveiled a set of measures to support their recovery.

"I want to pay back people's sacrifice in a way that is completely different from now," Lee said in his meeting with small business owners and self-employed people. "I will change the paradigm with a preemptive system that provides damage compensation to people concurrently with antivirus measures."

Benchmarking the U.S. paycheck protection program (PPP), Lee said he will adopt a loan program designed to help small business owners cover fixed costs regardless of their revenue.

The former Gyeonggi Province governor also proposed an idea of the government buying some debts of small merchants facing overdue payments.

"There is a possibility that these people may go bankrupt if they are left to be dealt with by financial institutions," he said.

Lee added that he will adopt a policy which the government and leasers cover some rent from tenants when there are private gathering restrictions or business curfews.

"There is a system that allows tenants request rent adjustment to leasers in a situation like the pandemic," he said. "But it goes to a court when they fail to reach agreement, so it is difficult to enforce it realistically."

Lee also pledged that he will not allow landlords terminate contracts or refuse contract renewals when their tenants fail to pay their rent in time in an emergency situation like the pandemic,

To support recovery of the self-employed and small business operators, Lee promised to issue 50 trillion won (US$41.9 billion) worth of regional prepaid cards and provide shopping coupons designed only for use at small businesses to all people.

Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, looks at a report during his meeting with small business owners and self-employed people at the Korea Federation of SMEs in Seoul on Dec. 20, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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