South Korea passes US$10 billion supplementary budget to combat COVID-19
On March 17, 2020, the South Korean parliament passed the government’s supplementary budget proposal of KRW11.7 trillion (US$10.0 billion) to combat COVID-19 and its impact on the national economy. The largest supplementary budget in Korea's history, the funds will be used to prevent and treat COVID-19, support businesses affected through loans and guarantees, and support affected households. Funding will also prop up local economies including that of Daegu city where confirmed cases are most highly concentrated. The details of the supplementary and existing budget plan on COVID-19 and its aftermath are as follows:
- KRW4.1 trillion (US$3.5 billion) to support microbusiness and small-medium enterprises;
- KRW3.5 trillion (US$3.0 billion) to stabilize employment and people’s livelihoods;
- KRW2.1 trillion (US$1.8 billion) to strengthen South Korea’s quarantine and disease control system;
- KRW1.2 trillion (US$1.0 billion) to revitalize local economies and businesses; and
- KRW1.7 trillion (US$1.5 billion) to help Daegu and its neighboring provinces.
The government is also likely to request the second supplementary budget in May of 2020 as the parliamentary election will take place on April 15, 2020. During the 13th cabinet meeting, President Moon Jae-in noted that “the supplementary budget is not an end but a beginning” and that “this amount is nowhere near enough in light of the demands on the scene.” As of March 24, 2020, the total number of confirmed cases is 9,037.