|Hundreds of pizzas were delivered to the Ministry of Finance and Strategy office on Wednesday. / Yonhap|
By Chyung Eun-ju, Park Si-soo
President Moon Jae-in hosted a rare pizza party for finance ministry officials on Wednesday.
Cheong Wa Dae delivered 350 pizzas to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance in Sejong City, along with hundreds of bottles of soda and side dishes.
"It is also a gift to encourage the officials to continue to work hard on stabilizing the economy and household debt," a Cheong Wa Dae official said.
The pizza party, the first of its kind thrown by Moon, was to celebrate the passage of the 428.8 trillion won ($394.4 billion) budget for 2018, and a bill for tax reform, at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The bills got final endorsement after days of fierce debate between the ruling and opposition parties, which were often disrupted by the boycott-threatening naysayer, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP).
The on-off political showdown dragged on for days and ended with the bill winning final parliamentary endorsement four days after the legal deadline of Dec. 2.
The LKP tried to cut out or reduce the money earmarked for some of what it called "populist" or "budget-guzzling" policies, including creating thousands of new government jobs, expanding welfare programs and increasing the minimum wage.
To fund the increased spending, the ruling party pushed forward bills designed to raise the corporate and income tax rates for big businesses and top earners, which were approved on Wednesday.
Cheong Wa Dae said the pizza party cost 4 million won. It bought the pizzas at Pizza Maru, a local brand with 530 outlets across the country.
Asked why it chose the brand, Cheong Wa Dae said the company "is seeking to expand overseas in a win-win cooperation with its suppliers." It said Pizza Maru is an enthusiastic social contributor that has donated 100,000 pizzas to underprivileged people.
|Officials eat the congratulatory pizza sent by President Moon on Wednesday. / Yonhap|