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  • Seoul to budget over KRW 40 trillion for 2021 to overcome the crisis and move towards post-COVID era

  • Press Releases SMG 508
    • Seoul budgeted 40 trillion and 47.9 billion won (US$ 35.5 billion) for 2021 and submitted the plan to the city council for an approval
    • The budget will be mostly for seven tasks in three areas: (i) to enhance quarantine measures of Seoul (“S-Quarantine”), (ii) to recover the local economy, and (iii) to prepare for the post-COVID-19 era

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 5, 2020 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it budgeted 40 trillion and 47.9 billion won (US$ 35.5 billion) for 2021 and submitted the plan to the city council for approval.

    It is the largest budget exceeding 40 trillion won for the first time in history, 1.3 percent up from this year’s budget (39 trillion won). The 2021 budget will be mostly spent on the city’s transition to the “with COVID-19” and “post-COVID-19” era where the coexistence with the virus is inevitable.

    Specifically, the budget will be mostly for seven tasks in three areas: (i) to enhance quarantine measures of Seoul (“S-Quarantine”), (ii) to recover the local economy, and (iii) to prepare for the post-COVID-19 era.

    According to the budget plan, contactless and new growth industries will be included to get ready for the post-COVID-19 era while focusing on implementing quarantine measures and obtaining a stable local economy for next year. This year, the city government put the highest priority on the quarantine measures and the economy. It brought its supplementary budget four times for the first time with the total amount of additional budget exceeding six trillion won.

    First, under the motto “No Quarantine, No Economy,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government will spend 314.6 billion won (US$ 278 million) on maintaining the highest level of “S-Quarantine” and upgrade the paradigm of how to deal with contagious diseases.

    Specifically, 95.8 billion won (US$ 84.8 million) will be input to build up an early warning system using big data, support vaccine development, provide free vaccination, develop manuals, and provide training as well as secure quarantine goods. Also, 9.2 billion won (US$ 8.1 million) will be used for infrastructure. For instance, an emergency medical center covering the northeastern part of the city equipped with emergency beds for treating infectious diseases will be constructed within the Seoul Medical Center in August next year, and the design work will start for the center for patients with respiratory diseases.

    To enhance quarantine in public transportation used by over ten million citizens every day and welfare facilities visited by those with higher health risks, 44.7 billion won (US$ 39.5 million) will be spent. Next year, the city will continue its effort to make sure no one contracts the coronavirus while riding public transportation.

    Second, the city will input 7 trillion and 731.1 billion won (US$ 6.84 billion) to create jobs and strengthen the social safety net for the underprivileged leading to the recovery of economic slow-down caused by the outbreak.

    The city plans to directly or indirectly create 393,575 jobs using its budget of 2 trillion and 157.6 billion won (US$ 1.9 billion), 4 percent up from this year’s budget. For the first time, 15 billion won (US$ 13.2 million) is allocated to give an internship opportunity to 1,000 inexperienced, young jobseekers. Two technology campuses will open to provide training on artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to foster talents in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution.

    For small businesses and vendors at traditional markets, 2.8 billion won (US$ 2.4 million) will be used to support them to open online stores and build up online delivery services to foster “homeconomy” (home + economy, or neighborhood economy) and help them become a player in the online marketplace. To speed up the recovery of economy for citizens and increase the support for small businesses, the city allocated 25.6 billion won (US$ 22.6 million) to issue Seoul’s local gift certificates worth 380 billion won (US$ 336.5 million).

    In the meantime, the city government joins hands with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and autonomous districts to become the first city supporting 300,000 won for all 137,000 freshmen of middle or high schools. Out of the total amount of 41 billion won (US$ 36.3 million) required for the support, Seoul will take the portion of 12.1 billion won (US$ 10.7 million).

    Also, the social safety net will be strengthened: 43.9 billion won (US$ 38.8 million) will be spent to support more households hit hard by the outbreak of coronavirus, 48.1 billion (US$ 42.5 million) to build more local childcare centers, and 495.2 billion won (US$ 438.3 million) to expand resources for housing benefit.

    Third, the city will spend 560.4 billion won (US$ 496 million) to secure a driving engine for the future and invest in younger generations so that a new market can be explored in this ever-changing business environment.

    To boost the contactless industries, 1.8 billion won (US$ 1.59 million) will be allocated to set up a video conference studio where non-face-to-face conferences and events can be held. The studio will be open to the private sector as well as to the public sector. 1.3 billion won is put aside to provide contact-free healthcare services through IoT medical devices for the youth and seniors aged 65 or more. Also, 2.6 billion won is allocated to build up a contactless mobile credit guarantee process so that SMEs and small business owners can handle their financial affairs without having to visit a financial institution. The process will offer a one-stop service from loan application to execution.

    The city will continue its investment in innovative growth. It allocated 2.2 billion won to build up and operate living labs in the Digital Media City (DMC) to demonstrate the technologies and services of AR and VR. 2.1 billion won will be spent to set up and operate a center in G-valley to support R&D and commercialization of medical devices, and 7.2 billion won to run the Seoul Fashion Hub to support the growth of fashion businesses in Dongdaemun.

    To support the housing for young people and newly-weds with heavier burden for housing, 337.6 billion won, 90 percent more of this year’s budget, is allocated. 15.5 billion won will be spent for financial and psychological stability of young people.

    Besides, a budget is allocated for urban infrastructure to improve the convenience of citizens in 2021. The budget to be allocated to autonomous districts and to Offices of Education increased by 4.1 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, for balanced development of the city and equal opportunity for education.

    Seoul Acting Mayor Seo Jeong-hyup said, “Seoul budgeted over 4 trillion won, the largest in history. We will spend the budget carefully to ensure safe and stable living of our citizens.”