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Acting president calls for bold policy initiatives to bolster consumption

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Thursday called on the government to craft "bold" policy initiatives to stimulate domestic demand, warning that consumption could further weaken due to a string of risk factors, including rising prices.

During a meeting of ministers tasked with bolstering local demand, Hwang stressed the need to stop declining consumption "at an early stage" through aggressive steps such as the early execution of state budgets and fiscal reinforcements.

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a meeting of ministers tasked with bolstering local demand at the central government complex in Seoul on Feb. 23, 2017. (Yonhap)
Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a meeting of ministers tasked with bolstering local demand at the central government complex in Seoul on Feb. 23, 2017. (Yonhap)

"Domestic demand is on the decline as consumer sentiment is affected by growing uncertainties at home and abroad, and local consumption is expected to further slow down due to the slowing job market, lower household incomes and higher prices," Hwang said.

"For us to immediately feel the impact of bolstered consumption, (the government) has to actively craft and effectively push for bold policy initiatives that reflect the voices of people out in the field," he added.

The acting president, in particular, underscored the importance of employing measures to bolster ordinary citizens' purchasing power, including strengthening state support for those adversely affected by the ongoing restructuring of major industries, and reducing housing and medical expenses for ordinary citizens.

Hwang, in addition, pointed out that the government should explore ways to help small and medium-sized businesses that have been suffering from a recent increase in interest rates.

"By creating opportunities to promote wholesome consumption, we definitely need to make efforts to restore consumer sentiment," he said. (Yonhap)

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