Seoul: South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol presided over his first Cabinet meeting on Thursday to approve a record 59.4 trillion-won ($46.1 billion) extra budget proposal aimed at helping pandemic-hit small traders.
The extraordinary session was held two days after Yoon was inaugurated to demonstrate his commitment to keeping his campaign promise to swiftly compensate small traders for their losses caused by Covid-19 business restrictions, Yonhap news agency reported.
“As I have repeatedly emphasised, compensation for losses incurred in the implementation of antivirus measures is the state’s duty,” the President said during the meeting at the new presidential office in Seoul’s central district of Yongsan.
“It must be provided in a timely manner as, if we do not put out the urgent flames, there could be bigger threats to our fiscal health down the road,” he added.
The extra budget — the first under Yoon and the eighth during the pandemic — calls for a 36.4 trillion-won spending plan, including cash handouts to small traders, and 23 trillion won in grants to regional governments, according to the Finance Ministry.
Yoon urged the Cabinet members to do their best to ensure the proposal quickly passes through the National Assembly.