Basic Law on Service Industry Development is needed to revitalize economy

Apr 05, 2019, 08:58 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Yoo Jae-hee

It remains to be seen whether the Moon administration will be able to enact the Basic Law on Service Industry Development (BLID), which has been long-time favorite options for prior administrations to revitalize the national economy. The government is aiming to promote economic development even if it has to exclude the controversial “health and medical section.”

The government and the ruling party are planning to enact the BLID, which has been pending for eight years in the National Assembly, within the first half of this year. The BLID includes improvement of regulations on medical, education, tourism, leisure and IT service industry and grounds for financial support and tax reduction aimed to lift the country’s service sector productivity and competitiveness.

The ruling party has been pushing the BLID drive although it had to rule out the controversial “healthcare” part. Last August, Democratic Party (DP) legislator Kim Jung-woo initiated a bill of the same title by adding a new phrase, “This law is not applied to the matters specified in the Medical Act, Pharmacy Act, National Health Insurance Act, and National Health Promotion Act.” 

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki showed a positive attitude toward approving the law. “This bill has no direct connection to the controversy over medical privatization. I hope it gets approval quickly by adding a supplementary provision if there are concerns,” he said. 

However, it failed to get a parliamentary approval once again. The major issue is to reach a consensus with the opposition party. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) is putting on the brakes on the fact that the bill put limitation on the medical sector. The LKP claims that it is urgent to provide support to the health and medical service sector since it has great growth potential.

“The Standing Committee discussed about the Act on Regulation of Special Cases of State Property and there was not enough time to discuss the Basic Law on Service Industry Development,” said a finance ministry official. The government plans to continue its BLID drive until the next provisional meeting.

No administrations have ever been able to bear fruit involving the BLID. The Roh Moo-hyun administration had introduced measures to strengthen the service sector including the healthcare industry, but failed to do so. Both Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations had promoted bills to ease regulations on service industry, but ended up without producing results.

Nevertheless, the BLID is still necessary because the service industry is highly likely to create added values, such as boosting exports and creating jobs. In fact, state-run think tank Korea Development Institute (KDI) said that a stronger service sector could accelerate the country’s economic growth by up to 1 percentage point and create 150,000 new jobs.

#Basic Law on Service Industry Development #service industry #medical privatization 
Copyright by Asiatoday