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S. Korea must redouble efforts to bolster economy: finance minister

According to Yonhap News,

(SEOUL=Yonhap News) South Korea's economic recovery is slow and weak although the economy as a whole is on the mend, the top economic policymaker said Monday.


Touring a major road construction site in southern Seoul, Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said consumer spending remained sluggish and exports have not increased as previously anticipated, mainly due to external factors.

"Under present conditions, what is needed are measures aimed at vitalizing the economy, as well as pushing forward economic reforms," said the official, who doubles as deputy prime minister.

Under this scheme, the government and the public sector will make certain that the investors do not lose money. The measure will also outline the sharing of any profits.

The plan is expected to become formal soon as one of the government "fast track" policy implementations.

At present, most public-private projects are either carried out under the build-transfer-operate (BTO) or build-transfer-lease (BTL) arrangements.

BTO has taken flak for forcing private companies to bear most of the burden of projects, while BTL compels the government to take on most of the risk.

Once the BOA system is implemented, projects to refurbish sewage treatment sites and underground passages for roads that run through city centers should get a boost. Such projects have generally not received many investment proposals.

Choi took a broadside again at the country's financial sector, criticizing it for settling for profit from loan-deposit spread instead of developing new value-added services to stay competitive.

"The financial sector is failing to create jobs or new value-added services and cannot even pay taxes because it is not making money," Choi said.

Last week, he said "something was broken" in the country's financial industry, pointing out that it now makes up just 5 percent of the GDP, way shy of the 10 percent target set in the past.

He told businessmen and banking sector executives who were present at the construction site that the financial sector needs to take advantage of the abundant liquidity in the market and low interest rates to develop new products that can contribute to economic growth.

Copyrights Yonhap News. All Rights Reserved.

Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (March 09, 2015)

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