“Among the 287 lawmakers present, 249 voted in favor, 26 against and twelve abstained. I pronounce the revised budget bill for 2021 approved.”
It’s the first time in six years that the National Assembly has passed the budget on time.
The 2021 spending plan was finalized at 558 trillion won, some 500 billion U.S. dollars,the biggest budget in South Korea’s history.
This is about 1.9 billion dollars more than the government first proposed, marking the first time in eleven years that the budget was higher than the initial proposal.
Included in the revised bill, are some 2.7 billion dollars for a third round of funds for small business owners and the self-employed who have been slammed by the resurgence of COVID-19.
The aim is to provide the relief funds before the Lunar New Year holiday in early February next year.
The revised bill also includes 814 million dollars to purchase COVID-19 vaccines in order to secure vaccinations for 44-million people.
Around 247 million dollars will be channeled into expand care support, and extra 272 million dollars more for helping the country achieve the government’s 2050 net zero carbon emissions targets.
Speaking at the session, the Prime Minister pledged to efficiently execute the budget in a responsible manner.
“Considering the danger posed by the resurgence of COVID-19, the government will do its best to protect South Koreans from the virus and protect the economy. We will also build a bright future in which South Korea becomes a leading nation.”
President Moon Jae-in also later thanked the lawmakers,saying the 2021 budget is necessary for the country to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
Now that the bill has passed, the government will be able to bankroll its policies next year.
The bipartisan effort to pass it on time is expected to help the country keep up the fight against COVID-19 and its impact, first by disbursing the third round of relief funds as soon as January.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.