President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday urged swift execution of the extra budget recently approved by the parliament, also stressing the need to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the additional spending.
"Regarding the supplementary budget, the issue is now to execute it with speed. I want you to now show that the extra budget will in fact lead to new jobs, a reduction in the youth jobless rate and economic growth with actual proof," the president said at the start of a weekly Cabinet meeting held at the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon's remarks came three days after the unicameral parliament approved the government request for an 11.03 trillion-won ($9.8 billion) extra budget after more than a month of delay.
President Moon Jae-in (second from R) speaks during a Cabinet meeting held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on July 25, 2017, the first of its kind involving only new Cabinet members appointed by the new president, who took office in May. (Yonhap)
Tuesday's Cabinet meeting marked the third of its kind chaired by the new president since he took office in May but also the first that involved only ministers and other Cabinet members appointed by the incumbent leader.
"Now the new government has launched in earnest. So from now on, I hope it will be a government that will be evaluated for its actual achievements," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
Tuesday's meeting also set the course for Asia's fourth-largest economy over the next five years under the Moon Jae-in administration, which has long advocated people- and job-oriented growth.
To this end, the government said it will seek to increase the minimum wage to 10,000 won per hour in 2022, compared with the current 6,470 won per hour. The minimum wage is already set to spike 16.4 percent to 7,530 won per hour at the start of next year.
On a broader term, the new administration vowed to realize growth without polarization.
Moon again urged his ministers to bring proof.
"Generally, we are stressing a fair and just nation, but if the people do not see fairness and justice being realized in their everyday lives, unless they believe their lives have improved because of such fairness and justice, our policy will be nothing but a hollow claim," the president said.
The meeting also involved a report from the agriculture ministry on the recent mad cow case in the United States.
The ministry said the bovine spongiform encephalopathy case confirmed in Alabama was "atypical," which is found in cattle aged eight years or more and is less risky than "typical" BSE cases.
Still, the ministry said the country has increased the proportion of US beef imports subject to inspection to 30 percent from 3 percent,
President Moon called for transparency in dealing with the animal disease that is also fatal to humans.
"Even if it is less risky, we need to thoroughly explain current conditions and government measures against BSE to the people so they can be assured of their safety," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun.
The government also reported a plan to reduce the prices of natural gas supplied to households by up to 9 percent in the fourth quarter.
The president welcomed the move, and told government officials to also consider ways to install new gas supply lines to households in rural areas, according to Park. (Yonhap)