Senior officials from the ruling party, government and the presidential office agreed in a meeting Tuesday to draft a supplementary budget to tackle fine dust and shore up the slowing economy.
The extra budget will be spent on building infrastructure that can scientifically measure, monitor and analyze fine dust levels, and reduce emissions, Hong Ik-pyo, spokesman for the Democratic Party, said in a press briefing after the meeting.
The officials agreed that the additional budget plan will also focus on pre-emptive measures to buttress against a potential economic downturn, supporting creation of new jobs and strengthening the social safety net.
The government plans to finalize the supplementary budget plan by late April and submit it to the National Assembly.
The size of the extra budget has yet to be announced, but Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon told reporters during his visit to China last Thursday that it would be difficult to allocate 9 trillion won ($7.92 billion) recommended by the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF said last month that South Korea should draw up an extra fiscal budget to support its economy facing risks from sluggish investments and global trade risks.
Some in the ruling party expect the extra budget to be around 5 trillion won.
Officials also agreed to push for a special legislation on the investigation into the November 2017 earthquake in Pohang, which a state-led probe team recently said could have been triggered by a geothermal power plant under construction.
They decided to finalize plans within this month to rebuild the quake-ridden area and stop the development of geothermal technologies.
They also agreed to do their best for the passage of the bills on extending the unit period for flextime work, revising the minimum wage determination system and revised bills on promotion of mental health in the March extraordinary session of the National Assembly.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)