In the face of the prospect of a hike in unemployment after the Lunar New Year, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Saturday gathered his Cabinet to discuss proposals for reducing unemployment.
After the two-hour meeting at the Presidential Office on Saturday afternoon, Executive Yuan Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) told reporters that the government would closely monitor unemployment figures and come up with proposals adaptable to changes in the situation to effectively address the problem.
The ad hoc meeting came after the latest government jobless figures released on Thursday showed the unemployment rate surged to a six-year high of 5.03 percent last month, with 549,000 people out of work.
Related problems will be dealt with under a Cabinet-level task force led by Vice Premier Paul Chiu (邱正雄) and composed of officials with the Council of Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), Public Construction Commission (PCC), and Ministry of the Interior, Su said.
Chiu will convene the task force and then report the results to the public on a regular basis, Su said.
“The president is very much concerned that unemployment will get worse in February, March, and April and hoped to get an understanding of how government agencies have been working on this issue,” Su said.
At the meeting, Ma listened to a briefing by CLA Chairwoman Jennifer Wang (王如玄) on proposals the Cabinet had made over the past few months and suggestions made by the CEPD and PCC on the problem, Su said.
The Executive Yuan had planned to ask the legislature to grant a NT$500 billion (US$ 14.842 billion) special budget to expand public investment in construction works for four years after it reconvenes next month, with the plan expected to create about 100,000 job opportunities in a year.
As the proposal is expected to pass the legislature in April at earliest, Ma urged the Cabinet to work with local governments to speed up small-scale construction projects in the next three months, Su said.