South Korea seeks to achieve a balanced budget in 2013 as part of efforts to maintain the nation's fiscal soundness, the finance ministry said Thursday.
The government will limit its annual expenditure growth to 4-5 percent and maintain a 7 percent fiscal income growth from 2011 to 2015, according to a mid-term fiscal management plan unveiled by the ministry.
Under the plan, which was reported to parliament on Thursday morning, the government's 2011 spending will range from 323 trillion won (US$302.9 billion) to 328 trillion won, while its revenue will stand at 202-207 trillion won next year, it added.
The spending figure is higher than this year's budget of 309.1 trillion won but it is smaller than 332.6 trillion won requested by government ministries and agencies in June for next year.
The mid-term fiscal management plan came after President Lee Myung-bak said during his Liberation Day speech on Aug. 15 that he will do his utmost to achieve a balanced budget in 2013, one year ahead of the government's earlier plan.
South Korea remains in relatively good shape in terms of fiscal soundness, but there have been growing calls for increased spending on the social safety net as the population ages rapidly.
To achieve the renewed target, the ministry said that the government will streamline tax exemption and benefit programs, while pushing to expand the overall tax revenue base. It will also improve its spending efficiency by removing any redundancies and waste of taxpayers' money.
The government, meanwhile, seeks to lower the ratio of the national debt to gross domestic product from about 35 percent projected for this year to below 30 percent in 2015, according to the ministry.