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Finance heads focus on growth

Improving quality of life also featured in New Year’s addresses
Jan 02,2018
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Choi Jong-ku
Improving the quality of life and innovative growth dominated the New Year’s addresses by the chiefs of major financial government bodies, signaling more spending on public health, housing and education.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said that he puts enhancing people’s quality of life first over numeric improvement in economic indicators.

“We are coming closer to our objective of achieving $30,000 in gross national income this year, but just as important is improving the quality of life,” he said in a statement.

“[The Ministry of Strategy and Finance] will place significant changes of people’s lives and development of growth potential as the top priority.”

He cited more jobs, less burden on education and housing as future policy directions.

Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said that the regulator will focus on innovative growth through the support of small and medium sized companies.

“From the set-up to growth and market exit, [the Financial Services Commission] will facilitate the support in a way that meets the business cycle at each stage,” Chairman Choi said.

To drive innovative growth, Choi expressed his hope that the junior Kosdaq that rallied at the end of last year will play a central role.

“We will review the entrance and other requirements to get listed on the Kosdaq market and restore independency so that it will serve as a primary trading board for promising companies,” the head of the Financial Services Commission said.

Choi mentioned tax breaks and the development of new market indexes following large cap Kosdaq stocks as a way to bolster the market.

With different tax breaks aimed at attracting more investment in the market, the Moon Jae-in administration also made bolstering the Kosdaq a key component of its economic agenda.

Besides the tax benefits, the government set a bolder goal in November, saying that it aims to have the National Pension Service (NPS), the country’s largest institutional investor, allocating 10 percent of its domestic investment fund to the Kosdaq. The current level is around 2 percent, according to data submitted to the National Assembly in October.

The regulator will also toughen up scrutiny over financial companies’ recruitment processes after several banks have been accused of unfairly favoring applicants with ties to high-ranking officials or government bodies.

Kim Sang-jo, head of the country’s antitrust watchdog, maintained his strict approach towards chaebol corporate governance and fair trading.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]