South Korea will focus its fiscal policy on pushing forward with the fourth industrial revolution next year, as well as improving job creation, tackling a low birthrate trend and economic polarization, the finance ministry said Tuesday.
The 2018 budget guidelines, which were approved by the Cabinet, are aimed at improving fiscal efficiency and allocating government funds to pressing issues and boosting growth potential moving forward, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
Based on the government's long-term fiscal plan, the budget for 2018 is expected to reach 414.3 trillion won ($373.7 billion), slightly up from this year's 400.5 trillion won.
The finance ministry said it will expand government spending on four key sectors -- job creation, investment in the fourth revolution, overcoming the low birthrate and narrowing polarization -- that can lead to sustainable growth.
It is the first time that the South Korean budgetary authorities mentioned the fourth industrial revolution as a key slogan.
The fourth revolution is characterized by many technologies in such areas as the digital, biological and artificial intelligence fields all being merged together that can create a new economic and social system.
"The 2018 guidelines are designed to expand investment in manpower and infrastructure to stimulate the fourth revolution in a bid to help the country lead future trends and find a new growth dynamos," the ministry said in a release.
Under the latest guidelines, the finance ministry said all government-funded projects worth 10 billion won or more will be subject to the ministry-led feasibility review in advance.
It will also streamline all subsidy programs and remove redundant plans in order to increase efficiency in state budget spending.
The money saved will be used to place more focus on the four core sectors that the country should strengthen to enhance its competitiveness, the ministry said.
The latest guidelines will be sent to the government ministries and agencies by Friday, with each responsible for submitting their 2018 budget spending plan by May 26.
The finance ministry will then examine all plans and submit its 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly on Sept. 1. (Yonhap)