Source: Yonhap News Agency

The South Korean government has agreed to slash 30 per cent from the salaries of its ministers and vice-ministers for the next four months, following a meeting on Sat (21 Mar).

The country’s Prime Minister’s Office said that the measure will apply to around 140 senior civil servants from 52 departments with an average monthly pay of ₩11 million (S$12,837.90).

Chosun Ilbo on Mon (23 Mar) reported a government official as saying that President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun’s salaries will also be reduced.

According to the government official, the move “is aimed at sharing the pain caused by the coronavirus epidemic”.

Citing this year’s annual salary data from South Korea’s Ministry of Personnel Management, Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea reported that the country’s president earns a yearly maximum of ₩231 million (S$269,713.15), while the prime minister earns around ₩179 million (S$208,969.61) per year.

An estimated ₩462 million (S$538,750.21) will be saved as a result of the above salary cut, Chosun Ilbo noted.

Lawmakers — who earn a monthly salary of ₩13 million (S$15,156.37) including expenses — are also considering adopting the same measure.

The money saved from the high officials’ pay cut, according to the government, will be used to assist small enterprises struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

An extra budget bill worth ₩11.7 trillion (S$13.7 trillion) was also passed by the South Korean government, in addition to another ₩50 trillion (S$58.4 trillion) rescue package for small businesses and the self-employed, Pulse reported.

President Moon also thanked the public for not engaging in panic-buying and hoarding unlike residents of other countries such as the U.S., Australia and several European countries.

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