Thu, Feb 05, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Government says it prevented even higher jobless rate

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation’s unemployment rate would have hit 6 percent if the government had not adopted measures to hold down the jobless rate, which stood at 5.03 percent as of December, Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) said yesterday.

To bring the jobless rate under 4.5 percent, the government is providing job opportunities and encouraging people to seek further education, Lee said.

TARGET

The government must reduce the number of jobless people by 280,000 to lower the jobless rate by 1.5 percentage points.

“That explains why the government has expanded borrowing and cut taxes to turn the economy around,” Lee told reporters at a luncheon.

The minister said that for every NT$100 million (US$2.96 million) of spending on public works, the government could generate 740 jobs. Another 240 jobs could be created for every NT$100 million in consumption, he said.

TAX REFORM

Lee said he was aware that the public was unhappy with some tax cuts — particularly the introduction of a 10 percent flat inheritance levy that used to range from 2 percent to 50 percent depending on the value of the inheritance.

However, the tax reforms could slow capital outflows and increase capital repatriation that would eventually bolster the national treasury, he said.

Lee said he believed part of the extra capital would be used to buy real estate and part would be invested in the local bourse.

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