My Administration has successfully eliminated deep-rooted evils in various fields, but we have been unable to go so far as to root out the long-running ills of real estate speculation. It can be said that we have only focused on stabilizing the property market, simply reacting to phenomena as they appear. Learning of the alleged real estate speculation by some employees at the Korea Land and Housing Corporation, the people are demanding more than a response to this case itself; they want the root cause of the problem to be uncovered and a fundamental solution put in place. They demand the eradication of the long-accumulated evil of real estate speculation. It has served as an ingrained scourge of our society’s unfairness and continually exacerbated asset inequality through unearned income from accruing property values.
Based on such self-reflection and with resolute will and determination, the Government will make a strong drive, for the remainder of my term, to uproot the old evil of real estate speculation and establish an order for transparent and fair property transactions by making these two objectives key administrative priorities. I urge you to realize that this is the most important issue affecting people’s livelihoods and a task embodying the spirit of the candlelight revolution that gave birth to this Administration.
I also ask the political community to refrain from politicizing this issue. Although the Government must take primary responsibility for the problem, this is an issue that our politics has long failed to solve and a task that we all have to work together on to find a solution. This is an important matter of livelihoods that has direct bearings on people’s lives. This should be a nonpartisan mission in order to advance to a transparent and fair society. It has to start with preventing real estate corruption among public servants.
I urge you to join forces for swift enactment of the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act to ensure that public officials are deterred from gaining unjust profits by taking advantage of their position. At the same time, you should embark on fundamental institutional reform to end the history of unlawful speculation, for instance, by setting up an agency that oversees abnormal real estate transactions and illegal speculation. In addition to the Government’s strong measures, I look forward to the National Assembly responding as well to the demands of the people and the times by producing tangible results through legislation.
Meanwhile, public sector-led real estate supply measures to stabilize the market should not be impacted under any circumstances. Rooting out long-accumulated real estate irregularities and stabilizing the real estate market are interlocked like two sides of a coin. No matter what happens, those without their own homes and young people desperate to find affordable housing should not suffer. The Government will do all it can to ensure that the planned supply measures proceed without any disruptions. I ask the National Assembly to provide support for housing stability among the working class by speeding up legislation to back up the February 4 supply measures.
The Government’s most important task this year is to revive the economy and people’s livelihoods. Amid reports that the global economy is recovering faster than expected, it is fortunate that the recovery of our economy is also gaining speed as evidenced by international organizations’ repeated upgrading of our economic growth forecasts. Above all, following four consecutive months of increases, our March export figures so far are up more than 25 percent from last year, outperforming pre-COVID-19 era numbers.
Along with our flagship items, new future industries are spearheading export growth, which is even more promising. It is also very encouraging that the shipbuilding and shipping industries, which were on the brink of collapse at the time I took office, have revived thanks to the Government’s strong rebuilding policy. In particular, I am very proud that our shipbuilding industry has reclaimed its top position in the global market by receiving over half of the world’s new ship orders, notably through high value-added vessels and eco-friendly ships. I ask each ministry and agency to do everything possible to revive the economy by boosting the private sector and investment and accelerating regulatory innovation, so that the Korean economy can quickly return to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic level faster.
People still sense that the situation with livelihoods and employment is very difficult. Although vaccinations are proceeding smoothly, the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to reach the stage where we feel at ease, which has hindered the recovery of domestic demand and spending. Hardships with employment also continue. Hence, the Government is doing everything it can by injecting fiscal spending to stabilize livelihoods and employment above all else. While swiftly finalizing the disbursement of the third round of emergency relief payments, I ask you to make all-out efforts to prepare the fourth round so that payments can be distributed as soon as the supplementary budget proposal passes the National Assembly. I would also like you to implement, as planned, the extension of special employment support and the designation of additional business lines eligible for such support, as well as customized job programs for young people and women together with the public employment projects.