Mon, Dec 27, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Public spending may boost GDP growth


Taiwan's economic growth rate will hit 5 percent next year due to the government's public construction drive and continued investment by the private sector, a government official said yesterday.

Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), chairman of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), made the remarks during a gathering with business leaders in central Taichung City last week. Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) was also present.

Hu based his optimism on the fact that the country is set to achieve an economic growth rate of 5.9 percent for the whole of this year, the best performance in seven years, coupled with an improved jobless rate. Taiwan's November unemployment rate stood at a relatively low 4.14 percent -- the lowest level since May 2001.

According to Hu, the CEPD is confident of meeting its 5 percent target for next year on the back of start of the government's "10 New Major Construction Projects" plan.

However, Theodore Huang (黃茂雄), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (工商協進會), was less upbeat about the domestic economy's performance in the coming year due to a slowed world economy as has widely been predicted by major international forecasting agencies.

Huang said that he would rather be "cautiously optimistic" in this regard and called for more investment from the private sector.

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