SEOUL, July 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The “customary” offering of travel expenses for spouses accompanying participating in the overseas travel of local government heads is finally diminishing.
According to Wirye Citizens’ Solidarity, an NGO monitoring the budget spending of local governments, only Jeju Special Self-governing Province and its provincial council are currently covering travel expenses for the spouses of senior government officials.
Among the 17 metropolitan and provincial governments, 16 including Seoul replied that there were no instances in which spouses took part in overseas travel. They said, “Usually, it is unnecessary for spouses to participate in overseas travel.”
However, Jeju governor Won Hee-ryong visited Japan with his wife in January this year, and the provincial government spent 1.23 million won for her travel. Koo Sung-ji, chairman of the Jeju Provincial Council, visited Japan together with his wife, with the Jeju government covering 1.12 million won for her travel expenses.
In the past, local governments covered travel expenses for spouses of senior officials based on the rule on supporting civilians’ travel expenses. However, with public opinion strongly supporting the notion that the custom was a waste of money for local governments, there has been a significant reduction in travel expenditures for spouses.
Gangwon province said that the rule could not be applied to the spouses of the local government heads, and Incheon Metropolitan Council replied that accompanying spouses for overseas travel could not be admitted under the rule.
By M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)