Developments on the Economic Front

Difficulties Facing the Economy and Plans to Change the Situation for the Better

The guiding outlook for the economy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is "everything for the people and everything by relying on them" within an overall determination of self-reliance.

The overriding objective factor for the economy during the past five years was the U.S.-led killer sanctions and blockade of the DPRK -- enforced by Canada as well -- which cause great hardship for the people, and the ongoing threats of military annihilation. In addition the country was battered yearly with severe natural disasters and last year with the global pandemic. Taking all of this into account, the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un said in his Report to the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), "the successes of the WPK in the last five years in its revolutionary struggle and construction work are no small matter."

"Last year was a quite difficult year; in the circumstances of the world public health crisis that lasted unprecedentedly long in history, they consistently ensured a thoroughgoing stable situation in infectious disease prevention by stubbornly overcoming the difficulties, maintaining the conscious unity of all the people in this effort, and regarding it as a patriotic duty devolving on them; they also rose up in the struggle for recovering from the natural disasters and built more than 20,000 splendid new houses in different parts of the country. This great achievement left another proud page in our Party's record of struggle," he said.

Keeping the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

In this context, Kim Jong Un explained, "However, though the period of implementing the Five-Year Strategy for the National Economic Development ended last year, almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives." He pointed to the external and internal challenges that still exist and that the key to making a breakthrough is to consolidate the internal strength of the DPRK.

The Congress made "a comprehensive and profound analysis and judgment of the experiences, lessons and mistakes we have made during the period under review and, on this basis, define the scientific goals and tasks of struggle, which we can and must accomplish without fail. The successes we have already achieved are priceless for us, and so are the bitter lessons that have been accumulated. All these are things that cannot be bartered even for gold, and constitute valuable assets for achieving fresh victories in the future. We should further promote and expand the victories and successes we have gained at the cost of our sweat and blood, and prevent the painful lessons from being repeated. In particular, we should be bold enough to recognize the mistakes which, if left unaddressed, will grow into bigger obstacles and stumbling blocks, and take resolute measures against their repetition. This Congress has been convened on the basis of this pluck and commitment."

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) informed that underlining the need to start the work for further developing the overall economy of the country under a new five-year plan, the Report of the 8th Congress analyzed the present state of the key industrial sectors including metal, chemical, electricity, coal, machine and mining industries and set forth the tasks for future development.

The Report given at the second-day sitting analyzed the situation of the transport, capital construction and building-materials industry, communications, commerce, land and environment protection, urban management, external economic relations and other major sectors and economic management fields and presented the goals and practical ways for making innovations and development in the relevant fields during a new five-year plan.

The Report also referred to the solutions in making a tangible turning point in improving the people's living standards by achieving planned and continuous growth of production in the fields of agriculture, light industry and the fishing industry, and by developing cities and counties in an independent and many-sided way.

It clarified again that there is a significant determination to protect the security of the country and people and the peaceful environment of socialist construction by reliably placing the state defence capability on a much higher level, and it put forth goals for realizing that.

The Report also put forward details of important tasks for promoting the scientific and technological development of the country.

"The cause of non-fulfillment of the five-year strategy for the national economic development" could not be solely attributed to the material conditions. To make such an assessment would suggest that the human factor "can do nothing" and "the action and role of the driving force would be unnecessary" making it "impossible to accelerate the revolutionary struggle and construction work unless the unfavourable external factors are removed."

Within the conditions, the Report said the previous "five-year strategy for national economic development had not been properly set on the basis of scientific calculation and grounds, that science and technology failed to play the role of propelling forward the economic work of the country, and the work of readjusting and reinforcing the irrational economic work system and discipline was not properly done."

"The economy of the country can never be boosted without breaking with the wrong ideological viewpoint, irresponsible working attitude, incompetence and obsolete working manner that have been prevalent so far," the Report concluded. By transforming the subjective conditions, the problems and damage of the objective conditions can be overcome.

The economic strategy for the next five years is to put "our economy on a normal track to run smoothly without being affected by any external influence" and give material expression to self-reliance and the economy's full potential. This means to concentrate on the internal organization of the national economy and the development of all its sectors and links from one department to the next so as to improve the people's standard of living.

The main industrial departments that require investment and focus to improve and normalize production are the metal and chemical industries, the production of the material and machinery necessary for industry to flourish, especially agriculture, the local supply of raw material and equipment for the production of articles of consumption and the generation of electricity.

Nationwide planned self-reliance and self-sufficiency through the mobilization of the people and the use of science, modern technology and increased investments in education are essential in "perfecting the self-supporting structure of the national economy, lowering the proportion of dependence on imports and stabilizing the people's standard of living."

(Photos: TML, For the Peoples Wellbeing)

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 5 - February 21, 2021    

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