Seoul Extends Electricity Rate Freeze for 3.65 Million Vulnerable Households

SEOUL — In a significant move, the government and the ruling People Power Party (PPP) have decided to extend the electricity rate freeze for 3.65 million households. This decision, primarily aimed at assisting vulnerable groups, was announced on Sunday by a party spokesperson.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the PPP's chief spokesperson, the agreement was reached during a meeting of senior officials from the government, the presidential office, and the PPP at the National Assembly. The discussion focused on measures to support people's livelihoods in preparation for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, scheduled for February 10 this year.

The government and the PPP also agreed on several other measures to aid the public. These include reducing the interest payments on loans from nonbank financial institutions for small business owners and self-employed individuals. It is estimated that around 400,000 people will benefit from this reduction, which could be as much as 1.5 million won (US$1,140) starting from late March.

Furthermore, there will be an increase in the monthly purchase cap for "Onnuri" coupons, which are utilized for buying goods at traditional markets and small shops at discounted rates. The current cap of 1 million won will be raised to 1.5 million won. Additionally, the total amount of available Onnuri coupons will be expanded from 4 trillion won to 5 trillion won.

In an effort to ease travel during the Lunar New Year period, expressway tolls will be waived from February 9 to 12. Moreover, discounts of up to 30 percent will be offered on KTX and SRT train tickets for those traveling from the provinces to the capital area during this time.

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