By AsiaToday reporter Yoo Jae-hee
There are opinions that expenditures on the latest blaze in Gangwon Province should be included in a supplementary budget bill that the government will submit later this month. However, it seems difficult to be included in the bill since there are reserve funds and time limitations. But if it is included in the extra budget bill, it might be done in the process of getting approval from the National Assembly.
According to the National Assembly and government ministries on Monday, the government and the ruling party are reviewing to include budget to revitalize the regional economy shrank by the massive forest fire in Gangwon Province in a supplementary budget bill. On April 5, Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee Hae-chan revealed that the party asked the government to reflect expenditures on disaster recovery to the extra budget bill. Liberty Korea Party (LKP) Floor Leader Na Kyung-won also revealed Monday that if a separate extra budget bill for disaster recovery is submitted that the party would review it fast for approval.
There have been cases of drawing up an extra budget to recover from natural disasters such as typhoon Rusa and typhoon Maemi. Therefore, there is a chance of drawing up an extra budget to support recovery from the recent devastating fire. In 2000, 80 billion won to recover from forest fire damage in Gangwon was included in an extra budget bill worth of 2.4 trillion won.
However, the Ministry of Economy and Finance is being careful to include the budget related to forest fire in an extra budget bill. The budgetary authorities claim it would be hard to include the budget in the government’s bill since it is hard to estimate the total amount of the damage caused by the recent massive fire until the submission date on April 25.
In addition, the government believes it should first cover the damage recovery with resources that are available to use. Above all, there is disaster management funds prepared for each ministry, and the government is allowed to use reserve funds set at 1.8 trillion won this year.
“First, the damage from the forest fire should be assessed. Then, related ministries and restoration projects should be discussed,” an official from the finance ministry said. “Related resources, such as reserve funds, should be used first.”
If the fire extra budget is drawn up, it may be additionally included in the process of receiving approval from the National Assembly. Besides, it is speculated that a 100 billion won-worth extra budget may be drawn up since the recent Gangwon fire destroyed 478 houses.
Meanwhile, the government is planning to propose an extra budget in the scale of around 6 trillion won. The budget is expected to include 2 trillion won to tackle fine dust pollution.