SEOUL, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Request for 2013 budget made by South Korea's government ministries and agencies grew 6.5 percent from a year earlier due to rising fiscal demand for education, national defense and welfare, the finance ministry said Monday.
The country's 51 ministries and state agencies requested a combined 346.6 trillion won (302.84 billion U.S. dollars) last month to earmark for their 2013 budget, up 6.5 percent from 325.4 trillion for the 2012 budget, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
The growth rate was lower than the average rate of 6.5 percent in the past 5 years, the ministry said. The country aimed to balance their budget in 2013 in a bid to prepare for future welfare outlays amid aging population and secure room for the possible fiscal stimulus amid lingering external uncertainties such as Europe's debt crisis and global economic slowdown.
Demand for the 2013 educational budget expanded 10.1 percent on- year to 50.1 trillion won. The budget growth will be spent in strengthening research capabilities of universities and to be sent to regional education offices.
Fiscal expenditures for health, welfare and labor will grow 5.3 percent to 97.5 trillion won in 2013 due to a rise in mandatory spending for various pensions, while national defense spending will jump 7.6 percent to 35.5 trillion won to cover growing welfare expenditure for soldiers.
Fiscal spending for foreign affairs and unification will rise 5. 1 percent on-year to 4.1 trillion won in 2013 due to an increase in overseas development assistance (ODA) for developing countries, with a combined 17.0 trillion won set to be earmarked for research and development (R&D) related outlays for the 2013 budget.
However, the budget request for social overhead capital (SOC) retreated 10.1 percent to 20.8 trillion won, with demand for culture, tourism and sports falling 5.5 percent to 4.3 trillion won. Request for environment declined 6.6 percent to 5.6 trillion won, and budget for agriculture, livestock and fisheries contracted 4.8 percent to 17.3 trillion won.
Based on the requests, the ministry planned to submit the final 2013 budget proposal to the National Assembly by the end of September after having consultations with parties concerned in the coming months.