As South Korea’s daily new COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high this week, the country’s ruling Democratic Party of Korea announced a major revision to the extra budget. The ruling party and the government have already finished discussing the details of the second supplementary budget, but the ruling party is planning to further expand the range of support as the fourth wave of COVID-19 has hit the country.
Referring to the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases in the country, Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Song Young-gil said at a Supreme Council meeting of the party on Friday that small business owners, the self-employed and the vulnerable are expected to suffer further from loss of revenue, adding the party will make sure that the extra budget benefits as many people as possible. DP floor leader Yun Ho-jung stressed that the party will make necessary revisions to the second supplementary budget, including emergency disaster relief funds, in order to respond to the expected damage and economic slump. It means they will further expand the beneficiaries of the emergency disaster relief funds although the ruling party and the government have already decided that the funds will be doled out to people in the bottom 80 percent income bracket. “Not only DP lawmakers but also the party’s presidential hopefuls argue that the range of support and the amount of money should be increased,” a ruling party official said. “It is highly likely that the disaster relief funds will be provided to entire population or the bottom 90 percent income group.”
“The (second) supplementary budget bill submitted to the National Assembly aimed at stimulating consumption and revitalizing the economy on the premise that the COVID-19 situation stabilizes in the country,” wrote Lee Nak-yon, former chairman of the DP, on his Facebook on Friday. “Unfortunately, the situation has changed. “The supplementary budget must also be reorganized according to the change of situation.”
Rep. Kang Byung-won said that the second supplementary budget should include a large increase in compensation for losses and damages for small business owners, who are likely to suffer greater damages from the fourth wave of infections. “Going beyond the government’s logic that resources are scare and therefore need to be used efficiently, all efforts must be directed at properly taking care of the damages suffered by the people,” he added.
Sung-Hwi Kang email@example.com