The Korean government has made the decision to increase the supplies of a set of groceries particularly in high demand during the Lunar New Year’s holiday (Jan. 29 - Feb. 2) by 31% including Chinese cabbages, apples and beef. The decision was made against the backdrop in which the prices of agricultural and fish products rose by 7% year-on-year for the second consecutive month, further weighing down on low-income households. The government has mapped out a plan to offer loans worth about 40 trillion won to small-sized businesses around the holiday season.
On Thursday, the government announced this livelihood stabilization plan at an emergency economic meeting at the Government Complex Seoul where Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki presided over the gathering.
“The supply of the 16 categories of high-demand groceries will be ramped up to 204,000 tons, and we will kick off the provision three weeks prior to the holiday season, a week earlier compared to last year,” said Mr. Hong, adding that the government will expand the tax and financial support for the groceries whose prices are rising the fastest such as by applying a quota tariff system.
The supply of Chinese cabbages will be expanded by 1.6 times, considering their soaring prices. The amount of apples and pears supply will also be cranked up by 2.5 and 1.8 times, respectively, through contract supplies. The supplies of beef and pork will also increase by 1.5 and 1.3 times each by streamlining the inspection and running butchery at night and over the weekends. As for the fish products, the government stock will be offered at a maximum 30% lower price, with pricier products including the pollack and mackerel being the priority.
Additionally, the government plans to hire more than 600,000 seniors and disabled people for stable employment. The labor and children’s scholarship will be paid in advance before the holiday begins, and the interest rate for business support financing will be cut by 1 percentage point temporarily to prevent overdue wages. And the maximum price of gifts stipulated by the Anti Graft Law will be provisionally increased to 200,000 won from Jan. 8 to Feb. 6 in a bid to encourage the exchange of gifts for the holiday season.
Hee-Chang Park firstname.lastname@example.org