South Korea prepares third supplementary budget, aims to protect jobs

People wearing masks walk in Seoul on April 20, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday (April 22) the government will prepare a third supplementary budget and sharply increase subsidies to keep more Koreans in jobs through the course of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a policy meeting with economic chiefs, Moon said a 40 trillion won (S$46 billion) fund will be created to help businesses keep jobs, while those who recently lost jobs from temporary positions or freelance work will be eligible for a 500,000 won subsidy for three months.

The 100 trillion won rescue package previously announced will be increased to 135 trillion won, to inject more liquidity into companies struggling to secure lifelines due to their low credit rating.

"The government will protect key sectors from failing through the 'key sector stabilisation fund," Moon told the meeting, without elaborating specific sectors.

"Keeping jobs is the core part of coping with this national crisis and the most pressing issue related to survival."

South Korea has already announced two supplementary budgets to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Asia's fourth largest economy.

Duty free businesses and companies that support on-the-ground operations of airlines, such as cleaning and towing aircraft, will be eligible for additional support measures to help them keep jobs, Moon said.

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