A government think tank in Seoul has reported that the growth of North Korea’s budget revenue and expenditures is estimated to be the lowest in nearly two decades.
Choi Ji-young, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification(KINU), said on Friday that budget revenue in the North will grow zero-point-nine percent and expenditures one-point-one percent compared to last year.
She said KINU reached those figures through analysis based on North Korea's latest parliamentary session.
The dip in budget revenue and expenditures may be a sign of the regime's worsening economic state amid protracted international sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and a string of recent natural disasters.
Annual growth of the North’s budget revenue and expenditures hovered around eight percent and ten percent, respectively, in 2012. Growth in revenues was between three percent to four percent and expenditures between five percent to six percent from 2013 until last year.
This year, the North planned a zero-point-six percent increase in budget expenditure for public livelihoods. It planned to expand investment in science and technology by one-point-six percent, significantly lower than nine-point-five percent last year.
Despite its stringent responses to the pandemic, its budget earmarked for the healthcare sector only increased by two-point-five percent from last year.