S Korea’s Moon urges lawmakers to approve $10 bn stimulus plan

SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Monday urged parliament quickly to approve his $10-billion stimulus plan aimed at tackling youth unemployment, warning the issue could otherwise become a “national disaster”.
Moon, who took power in May after the ousting of impeached president Park Geun-Hye, has proposed a 11.2-trillion won ($10 billion) extra budget aimed at tackling unemployment and strengthening welfare provisions in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The proposal, which requires parliamentary approval, aims to help create 110,000 jobs — including 71,000 in the public sector — in response to a record-high jobless rate for the under-30s.
“Unless we come up with drastic measures, the youth unemployment crisis could develop into a national disaster… creating a lost generation of jobless youth,” Moon said in a speech to lawmakers.
“Many say that today’s youth will become the first generation whose quality of life will be worse than their parents’… the top priority of the extra budget is young South Koreans,” he said.
Decades of rapid growth saw the South rise from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War to become a member of the OECD group of leading economies, but economic expansion has slowed for the past decade.
The jobless rate among those aged below 30 hit 11.2 per cent in April, a record and more than double the rate for the overall working population.
Economic frustrations and inequality in wealth and opportunities were among the factors that fuelled mass protests which saw Park impeached and arrested over corruption. — AFP