|Members of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA), a peer-learning network among financial bureaucrats from 11 countries, listen to Second Minister of Economy and Finance Choi Sang-dae deliver a welcoming speech on the opening day of the 2022 PEMNA gathering at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul in central Seoul, Tuesday. Courtesy of Ministry of Economy and Finance|
By Yi Whan-woo
Korea is hosting the 10th gathering of finance ministry officials in the Asia-Pacific region this week, with this year's topics focused on improving and sustaining fiscal health in the coming post-pandemic era.
The 2022 gathering of the Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia (PEMNA), a peer-learning network of financial bureaucrats specialized in public expenditure management, is taking place in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Co-launched in 2012 by the Korean finance ministry and the World Bank, PEMNA has 11 member nations, including Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The meeting, which started on Tuesday for a two-day run, is taking place at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul in central Seoul.
Second Minister of Economy and Finance Choi Sang-dae is representing the Korean side.
Foreign guests on the opening day included World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Manuela Ferro as well as ambassadors in Korea from PEMNA member nations.
In his welcoming speech, Choi addressed Korea's shift from an expansionary fiscal policy embraced by the previous administration to a belt-tightening policy under the Yoon Suk-yeol government so as to enhance fiscal soundness.
The vice foreign minister said that many other governments face a need to normalize expenditure as soaring inflation worldwide makes it difficult to maintain an expansionary fiscal policy.
In a separate welcoming speech, Ferro valued Korea's path to economic recovery and noted that Korea is right on track in its fiscal policy shift.
"With the economic recovery now underway showing is that the government is right to now turn to strengthening fiscal soundness and rebuild those buffers," Ferro said. "This includes promoting fiscal rules which, if they are calibrated appropriately, can enhance transparency and also predictability."