SEJONG, May 4 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s finance minister on Monday raised the possibility of temporarily softening regulations for companies to boost investment as the nation seeks to minimize the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki told a meeting with senior ministry officials that there is “the need to temporarily ease regulations that have become obstacles to corporate investment.”   

Hong also urged ministry officials to draw up plans to revitalize private consumption.’

Last week, the National Assembly approved a 12.2 trillion-won (US$10 billion) extra budget to fund emergency handouts for households to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea’s economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of the year, marking the sharpest quarterly contraction since the last three months of 2008.

South Korea has promised relief packages worth some 240 trillion won to ease the economic fallout from the virus.

To reinvigorate economic growth, the government has started reviewing measures to ease regulations in 10 industrial sectors, including artificial intelligence and mobility.

Hong repeated that the ministry will unveil details of a third extra budget early next month.