Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Chairman promises to resign if vouchers fail to increase GDP

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Chairman Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) yesterday said he would step down if the consumer voucher scheme failed to raise the nation’s GDP growth by 0.32 percentage points next year.

Chen made the remarks yesterday at the legislature’s economics committee, after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) raised doubts about the CEPD’s earlier projection that the NT$83 billion (US$2.5 billion) scheme would help lift the nation’s GDP by 0.64 percentage points next year.

“The shopping voucher program in Japan was a failure,” Gao said, accusing the council of being overly optimistic, since Japan’s voucher program only helped raise its GDP by 0.1 percentage points in 1999 in return for a government budget of ¥600 billion (US$6.29 billion).

Chen said that the new scheme may not realize its full potential as it was unlikely that all the vouchers will be used, but he would take full responsibility and step down if the scheme failed to raise the nation’s GDP growth by half the original target.

To revive domestic consumption, the government will hand out consumer vouchers worth NT$3,600 to qualified recipients on Jan. 18, before the Lunar New Year, at some 14,000 distributing stations nationwide.

Those who are not available on that day can collect their vouchers from designated post offices before April 30.

In addition to local citizens, foreign spouses of Taiwanese nationals who have obtained residence permits here are also eligible for the vouchers.

Eyeing the voucher business opportunities, domestic retailers have already begun to launch various discount programs ahead of the issuance of shopping vouchers, in an attempt to attract buyers.

The latest promotion launched by Core Pacific City Living Mall (京華城) yesterday allows shoppers who spend more than NT$3,600 at the mall before Dec. 25 to cash their voucher later for NT$4,000 in cash.

Chen said he welcomed discounts from retailers before the vouchers are issued in a bid to stimulate sales, but warned that retailers may not be able to cash their vouchers at local banks.

The vouchers will be prohibited from resale or from being cashed, and businesses that violate the rule will receive a fine.

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