According to Yonhap:
North Korea renamed its financial planning department in an effort to empower the government ministry to newly take charge of practical economic affairs, a Pyongyang source has said.
“The Financial Planning Department under the Workers’ Party of Korea was renamed last year as the Department of Economy,” the source told Yonhap News Agency.
O Su-yong, a vice chairman of the ruling party’s Central Committee is heading the renamed ministry, the source said.
The rebranding broadened the department’s scope of duty from economic planning and budget setting to wider economic issues like railroad, construction and coal mining and processing, which were previously supervised by the cabinet, the source said.
Still, the supervision of the light industry and agricultural affairs is in the hands of the cabinet, the source noted. “In the seventh party congress last year, (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un empowered the cabinet to take charge of economic affairs, but (he) again reversed course to choose a party-centered management style after the cabinet’s administrative orders failed to impact provincial economies,” according to the source.
Nam Sung-wook, professor at Korea University, said, “The move has something to do with maintaining consistency and continuity of economic policies.” He said the renaming may have been intended to expand economic supervision and shift the control of economy to the party.”
However South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the renaming has not been confirmed and more information is needed to verify it.
In March 2010, the head of what is now the economy department, Pak Nam-gi, was executed for botching a reform program.
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N. Korea renames financial ministry to attend to wider economic affairs