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Pres. Lee Orders Provisional Budget Amid Impasse

Posted December. 25, 2009 13:29,   


President Lee Myung-bak ordered the government Thursday to form a provisional budget because the National Assembly will apparently not pass a budget bill for next year by the end of the month.

His spokesman Park Seon-kyu quoted the president as saying in an emergency economic review meeting, “At a time when the working class is still suffering from the impact of the global economic crisis though Korea’s economy is on a recovery path, it is regrettable that the budget bill has yet to pass the National Assembly.”

“If the budget bill doesn’t pass the National Assembly by year’s end, an emergency Cabinet meeting should be convened New Year’s Day to set a provisional budget and immediately implement it by each ministry.”

President Lee also said, “It will be difficult to smoothly operate government works with a provisional budget,” adding, “So we must thoroughly review every problem that might arise if the budget bill does not pass the Assembly and come up with countermeasures.”

“With the provisional budget, the government cannot push policy projects since it has no legal obligation to spend budget on such projects.

He added, “Not only those projects that are already underway, but also new infrastructure construction projects will be delayed.”

Government workers at organizations and facilities set up under the Constitution and laws will be paid under the provisional budget, but those working at the organizations set up in accordance with government instructions will not.

To this, the president said, “This is unreasonable. We should share the pain of the working class that will rise due to the delayed implementation of the budget,” adding, “If the provisional budget is implemented, the payment of salaries to government officials should also be delayed.”

His mention of the provisional budget is not only to ask for thorough preparation in case of emergency but to press the National Assembly in a roundabout way to swiftly deal with the budget bill, according to experts.

Spokesman Park said, “The implementation of the provisional budget will hinder projects for job creation, welfare facility assistance, and infrastructure construction,” adding, “I plead with lawmakers for the passage of the budget bill within this year.”

The Strategy and Finance Ministry said it will devise guidelines for the implementation and allocation of the provisional budget for all public organizations if the budget bill fails to pass the National Assembly by year’s end.

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