South Korea's second extra budget of the year will prioritize support for the people who've taken the biggest financial hit in the pandemic.
That's according to President Moon Jae-in on Monday,.. thanking the National Assembly for passing the bill worth roughly 30 billion U.S. dollars and saying it will be of great help to the people.
"The extra budget this time is focused on spending for vaccines and anti-virus measures and supporting small business owners who've taken economic damage, and it seeks a recovery in employment and the stabilization of people's livelihoods."
Of the package, around 15 billion dollars will be used to provide assistance regarding damages related to COVID-19, such as relief funds for small merchants who've had to close or limit their business hours due to stricter distancing rules.
It will also pay for cash handouts of around 220 dollars each to people on incomes below the 88th percentile.
Moon asked for people's understanding that not everyone is eligible this time.
Another 4 billion will be used to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and to add more medical staff, testing and quarantine equipment.
The remainder will be used to provide support for regional economies, to bring about a recovery in jobs and to stabilize people's livelihoods.
Moon stressed the importance of an aggressive fiscal policy to overcome the pandemic, pointing out that the South Korean economy is recovering faster than any other.
This is the country's sixth extra budget since last year aimed at addressing the impact of the pandemic.
"The government will make all efforts for the implementation of the extra budget so that those in need are able to get swift support in a timely manner. As part of these efforts, I ask that you minimize the preparation phase."
As for concerns regarding the country's fiscal soundness, Moon said that the extra budget was financed without issuing state bonds and that the government will be repaying some 2 billion dollars in national debt thanks to excess tax revenue.
With the payment, the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to drop one-percentage point to 47.2 percent.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.