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North Korea calls on enterprises to donate more revenue

North Korea calls on enterprises to donate more revenue
Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday North Korea's service industry must contribute more funds to the national budget. Photo courtesy of DPRK Today

April 21 (UPI) -- North Korea revealed plans to effectively raise taxes through higher levies on consumption, as the country remains subject to heavy international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and missile development.

State-run newspaper Minju Choson said Tuesday the national budget must be "executed thoroughly" through the securing of collected revenue.

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The article did not use the word "tax" to refer to the new policy proposal. South Korean analysts have previously said North Korea does collect revenue, but the Kim Jong Un regime does not use the word tax in official statements. North Korea has claimed it is the world's only tax-free country, according to analysts and defectors. The system is referred to as "socialist income accounting."

On Tuesday, Minju Choson called on North Koreans to perform their duties to "pay the national budget," such that "budget funds can be used effectively."

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On April 12, during the third session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, North Korea said the budget would increase by 4.2 percent, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The decision comes at a time when North Korea is struggling financially in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. Pyongyang closed its borders in January, suspending tourism, a vital source of income that is not subject to sanctions.

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State media said the collected revenue must come from factories and other enterprises. Minju Choson added North Korea's service industry, a sector that includes expensive restaurants and tony department stores, must expand in order to contribute to the national budget. The article also called on North Korea's finance ministry to improve oversight of banking institutions such that "waste" is not incurred.

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The move toward collecting more revenue in North Korea is taking place as the country remains wary of the novel coronavirus.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned readers on Tuesday against letting down their guard despite "no cases" in the country.

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