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S. Korea cuts rental fees for virus-hit airport business operators

Standards for incoming relief fund payment to be finalized next week

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. (Yonhap)
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. (Yonhap)

South Korea will further cut rental fees for businesses operating at airports and duty-free shops, as part of continued efforts to support industries amid the fallout of COVID-19.

It also vowed to soon finalize detailed guidelines concerning the emergency disaster relief fund, aiming to pay out the cash to distressed households by May.

“The rental fee reduction rate for small businesses and owner-operators at airports will be raised to 50 percent from 25 percent,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki in a meeting of economy-related ministers held at Seoul Government Complex.

“Midsized companies and conglomerates will be granted a 25 percent reduction for the first six months of operation.”

With the cooperation with mobile carriers, Seoul’s government will also offer a one-month telecommunication fee exemption for owner-operators that were forced to shut down after the visit of confirmed patients, the fiscal chief added.

“Some 420 billion won ($343 million) will be injected to small-sized retailers and communication equipment operators, while the investment volume for 5G network will be raised to 4 trillion won from the conventional 2.7 trillion won.”

The top policymaker also vowed to add speed to the government’s plan to provide relief cash to economically struggling households.

“The detailed guidelines will be available early next week,” Hong said, explaining that some additional processes are necessary to define those eligible for the subsidy.

Early this week, President Moon Jae-in unveiled a plan to pay 1 million won each to some 14 million households in the lower 70 percent of the nation’s income spread.

“The key point in executing the emergency relief state fund is the cooperation between the central government and local governments,” the fiscal chief said.

“We shall make efforts to cover the related expenses by adjusting the already established budget, without issuing deficit-covering bonds.”

By Bae Hyun-jung (