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Yoon orders scrapping of preliminary feasibility studies for R&D projects

May 17, 2024 - 20:25 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a national financial strategy meeting at the government complex in Sejong on Friday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed the government Friday to scrap all preliminary feasibility studies for research and development projects to speed up their implementation and support economic growth.

Yoon made the remark during a national financial strategy meeting held to discuss fiscal policy issues ahead of the government's formulation of next year's budget.

"I ask you to abolish preliminary feasibility studies and sharply increase the scale of investment in order to nurture R&D, which is the foundation of growth," he said during the meeting at the government complex in Sejong, 113 kilometers south of Seoul.

Calls have grown within the science and technology community to relax regulations on preliminary feasibility studies in order to keep up with rapid technological progress.

Currently, government-funded projects valued at over 50 billion won ($36.9 million) are required to undergo feasibility studies lasting several months.

The finance and science ministries said in a joint press release they are pushing to reform relevant policies for the swift and flexible implementation of R&D projects.

At the same time, the government is mulling measures to supplement the review procedure to prevent possible issues that may occur with the scrapping of preliminary feasibility studies, according to the ministries.

Yoon also called for a complete review of government-funded projects aimed at boosting the country's birth rate, saying that despite the government's investment of 370 trillion won since 2006, the rate has continued to drop.

South Korea's total fertility rate, or the average number of children expected to be born to a woman over her lifetime, reached a record low 0.72 in 2023. The figure is far below the 2.1 births per woman needed to maintain a stable population without immigration.

Friday's meeting was attended by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok, ruling People Power Party interim leader Hwang Woo-yea and other senior officials.