#Hot Issues of the Week l 2019-02-03
The 23 projects that had their preliminary feasibility studies exempted by the Cabinet on Tuesday will be on the fast track for implementation through 2029. Out of the total project cost of 24-point-one trillion won, 18-point-five trillion won will come from the government, an annual average of one-point-nine trillion won for the next decade.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said with corporate investments and job creation centered in Seoul and its surrounding areas, strategic investments from the government are urgently needed to secure a foothold for regional growth.
The projects were selected from 32 applications from 17 city and provincial governments across the country, excluding Seoul, much of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.
Critics, including Economics Professor Kim Du-ol of Myongji University, point out that the government appears to have announced the exemptions in a bid to boost the economy.
"A feasibility study is a comprehensive process to assess the economic and social effects of a project and waiving that process could lead to overspending the budget for political purposes."
Civic groups and experts critical of the exemptions say that the government should be careful in exempting preliminary feasibility studies as it could lead to taxpayers' footing the bill for nonviable ventures.