South Korea to focus on living standard in 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo attend a Cabinet meeting. — The Korea Herald

SEOUL: President Yoon Suk Yeol reiterates his policy focus, stressing that the new year should be a year to achieve a recovery in ordinary people’s standard of living during the first Cabinet meeting of the year.

According to Yoon, measures are being undertaken to help ordinary people refinance their mortgages via mobile apps, effective yesterday, which would potentially allow them to reduce their borrowing costs.

In addition, more underserved people have become beneficiaries of increased welfare payments, Yoon added.

The first high-speed Great Train Express commuter rail network, called GTX-A, is set for a partial opening in March.

Also, new after-school education and care programmes, called “Neulbom School,” will be accessible to all students at over 6,000 elementary schools nationwide by the second half of the year, with about 2,000 schools set for implementation in the first half of the year.

The after-school programme is one of the measures laid out to tackle the country’s low birth rate.

“Beginning this year, new policies to help ordinary citizens are being implemented,” Yoon said.

Among the bills approved at the Cabinet meeting is one aimed at protecting debtors from unfair treatment by creditors, like excessive penalties for late payments, as well as debt collection without prior notice. The bill will go into effect nine months after promulgation.

Yoon’s office is also working to remove late payments from the credit history of individuals or small business owners who fell victim to economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a legal revision approved by the Cabinet yesterday would allow the presidential National Security Office (NSO) to create a new deputy-director position. Earlier in December, Yoon’s office pledged to add an NSO deputy-director dedicated to economic security.

Yoon did not elaborate on whether he would carry out another batch of presidential pardons before the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February. Yoon has pardoned over 5,200 prisoners so far.

Yoon’s approval rating on Monday dropped by 1.5 percentage points to 35.7% compared with the previous week, in the wake of his decision to veto a special bill proposed by the opposition bloc to launch a probe into his wife Kim Keon Hee, according to a poll by Realmeter. — The Korea Herald/ANN

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