North Korean families burdened by government financial demands
Many North Koreans experienced a difficult 2018 paying monthly electricity and water bills along with other costs incurred through their workplaces and organizations. North Korea’s constitution states that as a society without taxes, all wealth goes toward welfare improvements for workers. The reality, however, is very different.
The monthly electricity and water bills handed down each month (which range from around 200 – 280 North Korean won, depending on family size) are not a major financial burden to most North Koreans. What is burdensome, however, are the tasks residents must complete through their workplaces and organizations involving foreign currency and commodity-related quotas.
North Koreans are involved in Party-related organizations between the ages of 9 and 70 and must complete these tasks unconditionally.
“The major construction projects undertaken by the government recently have increased labor demands on ordinary North Koreans,” said a Ryanggang Province-based source on December 31. “However, this year contribution is not mandatory; the government doesn’t force the issue as much as it did in the past.”
When asked to contribute to construction projects like the Samjiyon modernization project or power plant construction, those with some economic flexibility may instead contribute money or materials to receive better evaluations from the organizations they are affiliated with. Regular North Koreans just try to pay the minimum to avoid getting in trouble. ......