Korea to turn unused land into public houses, innovative business space


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The South Korean government will turn unused state-owned land equivalent to 2.4 times the size of Yeouido into sites for public houses and business space for innovative companies, the nation’s chief fiscal policymaker said Wednesday.

To back the plans, the government decided to spend 65 percent of its yearly social overhead capital within the first half of the year, in a pump-priming effort to resuscitate the slowing domestic economy at all costs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Wednesday speaks in a government meeting on economic revitalization. (Yonhap)

“(The government) has selected 11 units of unused state-owned land with an area that totals 6.9 million square meters or 2.4 times that of Yeouido,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki in a meeting on economic revitalization at the Seoul Government Complex.

“The corresponding area will be used to build and supply 22,000 units of public houses, as well as facilities nurturing innovative startups and venture firms.”

Unveiling a mid-term development blueprint on SOC and state-owned assets, Hong said some 16.8 trillion won ($14.9 billion) of budget will be input into developing idle state-owned land by 2028, in a move expected to create 37 trillion won in production value and 205,000 jobs.

Reiterating concerns over the country’s sluggish economy, especially recently slowing momentum in exports, the fiscal chief vowed to provide financial support for overseas construction and plant orders.

Amid the prolonged impact of the Washington-Beijing trade dispute, Asia’s fourth-largest economy saw a 14.6 percent on-year drop in its exports during the first 20 days of January, Korea Customs Service data showed.

“A total of 8.6 trillion won will be spent on SOC projects this year, of which 65 percent or 5.7 trillion won will be executed during the first half of the year,” Hong said.

In addition, the government will draft a three-year road map on SOC development by the end of March, he added.

“Unlike conventional SOC, which largely focused on extensive engineering works, livelihood-related SOC seeks to prioritize facilities that are closely related to daily life,” said Noh Hyeong-ouk, chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination.

In a separate financial package, the government will accept companies’ applications for state-funded investment, starting Thursday. Under the state-led corporate investment promotion program, the Korea Development Bank will provide 7 trillion won of funds to midsized companies while the Industrial Bank of Korea will allocate 3 trillion won to small-sized companies.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)


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