The ruling party, the government and the presidential office agreed in a meeting on Thursday to give out 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion) of the 7.8 trillion-won extra budget to those severely affected by the COVID-19 epidemic before Chuseok next week.
The money will go to small business owners who were hit hardest by the latest COVID-19 spread; people struggling due to weakened job security and lower incomes; and families having difficulties in childcare due to online schooling, Democratic Party of Korea senior spokesman Choi In-ho said in a press briefing.
To spend 5 trillion won in less than a week, the government will use its administrative database to promptly give out cash to those who signed up in advance, and simplify the procedures for other COVID-19 support grants, Choi said.
For those who are not sure if they are eligible for the cash grants, the government plans to publicize relevant information via social media, mass media and text messages, and use various modes of payment such as bank accounts and credit cards to make it more convenient.
The party requested the government to meticulously manage the grant scheme to prevent paying a person more than once, or fraud.
In Thursday’s meeting, the Democratic Party asked for spending of 5 trillion won, which is about 70 percent of what is left of the extra budget after deducting a reserve fund of about 800 billion won.
“About 900 billion won, including 500 billion won in government subsidy for employee retention, which requires time for reviewing the applicants, will be paid out starting in October,” a Democratic Party official told Yonhap News Agency.
Democratic Party leader Lee Nak-yon and floor leader Kim Tae-nyeon from the ruling party, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki and Minister of the Office of Government Policy Coordination Koo Yun-cheol from the government, President Moon Jae-in’s chief of policy Kim Sang-jo and senior aide on political affairs Choi Jae-seong attended the meeting.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org