Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) warned yesterday that unemployment will quickly worsen — “the worst since the 1980s,” calling the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s stimulus and bailout policies “disoriented.”
“By March, many expect the nation’s unemployed to reach 700,000 people,” or more than 6 percent, up from 4.37 percent, or 476,000 people, last month, Tsai told a media briefing.
She blamed the government for giving priority to cross-strait policies, which she said would only encourage China-bound capital outflow and reduce jobs for domestic workers.
The government’s bailout plans are wrongly aimed at big companies such as those in the auto industry, instead of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), she said.
Although she agreed with the government’s goal to boost domestic consumption, Tsai urged the Cabinet to limit the consumer voucher scheme to “one month or no more than three months.”
“Such a short-term scheme should be executed immediately to maximize its short-term boost,” she said.
To ease the jobless problem, Tsai suggested the government create short-term jobs, such as temporary jobs with some of the government’s many infrastructure projects, which would provide a cushion to the unemployed, “instead of 12 vague iTaiwan projects.”
Most importantly, the government should create long-term jobs in fields such as alternative energies and biotechnologies, she said.
Tsai urged the government to continue with the DPP government’s priorities in developing the care-taking industry, which she believes would create tens of thousands of jobs at a cost of only NT$80 billion (US$2.4 billion).
The government should also “adjust its policies on importing foreign [low-end] workers to reserve more job opportunities for domestic workers,” she said, without giving further details.
Meanwhile, Chang Jing-sen (張景森), former vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), lambasted the Cabinet’s plan to come to the rescue of the auto industry and developers.
He said that such a bailout scheme would be “expensive and only save a few hundred jobs.”
The government’s bailout plan should target domestic-demand industries, which create external economic effects, he told the briefing.
For example, the government should encourage home improvement by subsidizing renovation projects, which would create demand for many troubled SMEs in related industries while adding value to the properties, Chang said.
He said SMEs would be the hardest hit by the financial crisis and economic slowdown.
Roscher Lin (林秉彬), chairman of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (中小企業協會), estimated that the monthly closure of SMEs has climbed to 7,000 companies since September, which he said might have caused 35,000 job loss per month.
The association urged the Financial Supervisory Commission to help them negotiate with banks to secure loan rollover for at least one year and an increased loan to value ratio to “secure their survival,” Lin said.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to