Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Legislative Yuan approves budget for infrastructure

AFP , TAIPEI

The Legislative Yuan has passed a NT$75.9 billion (US$2.31 billion) special budget for infrastructure development this year, officials said yesterday.

"The US$75.9 billion special budget is part of the government's five-year infrastructure expansion project that requires total investment of NT$500 billion," said Luh Dun-jin (鹿篤瑾), deputy minister at the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

Legislators have also agreed to raise the pension for senior farmers by NT$1,000 to NT$6,000 per month, retroactive from July 1, the official said.

The NT$1,000 hike per month will lead to an increase of NT$8.4 billion per year in the government's budget for farmers' pensions, Luh said.

The special budget and higher pension payment may result in increased private consumption, he added.

The DGBAS in May forecast that private consumption would rise 3 percent this year.

"Public infrastructure projects theoretically should contribute to individual incomes and as a result help private consumption," Luh said.

Any revisions to the private consumption forecast for this year will be decided at the DGBAS' quarterly meeting next month, he said.

"We have to take into account other factors such as the stockmarket rally and inflation," he said.

The official said that the DGBAS's economic growth forecast of 4.38 percent for this year is based on the assumption that the special budget for infrastructure projects would secure legislative approval by this month.

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