"I declare the revised bill for the 2022 budget has been passed."
The South Korean parliament has passed a record budget for next year some 5-hundred-15 billion U.S. dollars.
Up 8.9 percent on-year, the budget breaks the 500 billion mark for the first time.
It reflects final adjustments by the National Assembly that increased the overall budget for the pandemic recovery - resulting an extra 2.8 billion dollars. added to the government's initial proposal.
The pandemic recovery includes, helping small businesses where more than 1-tenth of the total budget will be injected
either by direct compensation or by boosting domestic consumption with the roll out of currency coupons.
Meanwhile.nearly 6 billion dollars are set aside for antivirus efforts like securing anti-viral pills and more hospital beds.
In addition to the pandemic recovery, the budget will also pave the way for building South Korea's first light aircraft carrier one of President Moon Jae-in's pledges.
Some 6 million dollars have been set aside for the initial designing of a 30-thousand ton aircraft carrier to ramp up deterrence and long-range operation capability.
It is the critical first step in the decade-long project,… which is expected to cost some 2 billion dollars in total by the time it is complete in 2033.
But this was also a source of controversy between the rival parties.
The ruling Democratic Party maintained that the project cannot be delayed any further.
But questioning the necessity and feasibility, the main opposition People Power Party said that,such an expensive project should be left for the next administration to consider. when it takes office in May.
“The negotiations went on until the last minute,…causing a delay in the computation work at the Finance Ministry.
And that pushed the passage one day over Thursday’s deadline, but National Assembly speaker Park Byeong-seug said it should still be counted as within the deadline.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News."