South Korea cuts public sector after growth under liberal government

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President Yoon Suk-yeol has pledged to aggressively cut spending and sell off non-core assets from state-owned companies.

South Korea’s new government has said it will streamline public organizations, citing concerns about efficiency after rapidly expanding their operations under the previous administration.

The government will cut workforces and cut costs at the organizations as the first step in a planned series of reform measures, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said in a statement on Friday.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has pledged to reform the public sector and said early this month his administration would aggressively cut spending and sell off non-core assets in state-owned companies.

The move came as Yoon experienced a continued decline in approval ratings, with the latest weekly Gallup Korea poll showing Friday’s approval falling from 32 percent a week earlier to 28 percent.

Choo said a total of 350 public organizations employed 449,000 people at the end of May and carried 583 trillion won ($449 billion) in combined liabilities by the end of 2021, up 34 percent and 17 percent respectively over the past five years.

There were concerns among the general public and experts about efficiency and profitability befitting the rapid scaling of public organizations, he said.



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