SEJONG, July 23 (Yonhap) — South Korea plans to attract private funds worth some 30 trillion won (US$25.1 billion) for infrastructure projects, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday, as the government seeks to spur an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

The projects include 4.5 trillion won worth of expressways and 2.3 trillion won for sewage systems, Hong told a meeting with economy-related ministers.

To attract private funds, the government will ease tax rules and regulations on privately-held funds, Hong said.

By 2025, the government will also build 1,000 plants for fifth-generation telecommunications and artificial intelligence, Hong said.

South Korea’s economy contracted 3.3 percent on quarter in the second-quarter of this year, marking the sharpest contraction since the first quarter of 1998, when it contracted 6.8 percent.

As the pandemic pushed the nation’s economy into a technical recession, Hong said the second-quarter contraction was “deeper than expectations due to external shocks.”

South Korea’s exports plummeted 16.6 percent in the second quarter, marking the worst figure since the fourth quarter of 1963.

The nation has pledged to spend 177 trillion won, or 14.4 percent of its gross domestic product, to help cushion the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Hong said the nation’s economy could rebound in the third quarter, thanks to a recovery in consumption and fiscal spending.