President Yoon Suk Yeol pledged on Thursday to implement various policy support measures aimed at assisting small business owners and vulnerable groups struggling with loan repayments due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yoon made the remarks during a government-public debate, the 10th in a series of sessions addressing people's livelihood issues, with business owners in Seoul.
"During the COVID-19 period, small business owners and self-employed individuals suffered from restricted business hours and social distancing measures, and are still faced with a significant challenge due to increased debt burden, coupled with high interest rates," Yoon said.
The government will collaborate with financial authorities to refund the interest, averaging 1 million won ($753) per person, Yoon said. The measure is expected to benefit around 2.28 million small business owners, with the total refunded amount reaching 2.4 trillion won.
"(The government) will support small business owners and self-employed individuals who have taken out high-interest loans to switch to low-interest loans through consultation services," he said.
Yoon also mentioned that the tax burden for small business owners will be alleviated by raising the threshold for levied taxes from the current annual revenue of 80 million won to 104 million won.
He said that such tax measures will not require a revision of the law and can be implemented through a presidential decree.
Additionally, electricity fees of up to 200,000 won will be deducted for each of the 1.26 million small business owners this year, according to Yoon.
"(The government) will boldly improve unreasonable business regulations that cause bruises on the hearts of hardworking self-employed individuals," he said.
Yoon mentioned that all 1,160 regulations applied to small business owners and self-employed individuals will be reviewed and abolished if found to be unreasonable. (Yonhap)