Reforms to the nation’s finances are expected to be initiated by mid-September, as government officials, industry representatives and experts reached a consensus to hold a series of meetings led by the Cabinet, Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如) said yesterday.
Liu said the Cabinet would set up a task force to discuss taxation and finance issues and decide which needs to be addressed first.
The task force’s primary role would be to prevent structural deficits in public finances from deteriorating further, while at the same time maintaining fiscal flexibility to deal with possible global economic uncertainties in the future, Liu said.
“We hope the task force can be set up in mid-March at the earliest,” Liu told reporters at a press conference. “The ministry has submitted the plan to the Cabinet for review.”
The proposed task force is expected to be comprised of about 20 members, including representatives from related government agencies, social groups and academia, Liu said, adding that Premier Sean Chen (陳冲), who will be the convener of the task force, would announce the complete list of members soon.
Liu said the task force would be in charge of setting the agenda on finance issues through a series of intensive meetings and it would distribute the issues to smaller groups for further discussion.
“For those smaller groups, we will invite more representatives, such as industrial representatives, to join the meetings to get opinions from all aspects,” Liu said.
Liu did not specify which finance or tax issues would be discussed during the task force’s first round of meetings, but emphasized that all issues that most Taiwanese care about would be included.
Meanwhile, the “ability-to-pay” principle in a taxation system toward social fairness and justice previously announced by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) would be the task force’s main focus, Liu added.
However, Liu said issues that had been focused on in previous finance reform committee meetings — launched in 2001 — and the tax reform committee — launched in 2008 — but not yet executed, would be discussed again in the task force’s meetings in the near future.
“We will determine the substantial hardships in applying the issues that had been discussed before and come up with pragmatic methods to address them,” she said.
The task force’s mission would be based on the concept of execution and pragmatism, Liu said, adding that all of the meetings would be open to the public to gain a wider range of opinions.