Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Legislators urge share sale to be dropped

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

In response to lawmakers’ requests, Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) yesterday said the ministry might consider dropping its plan to sell government agencies’ shares in local companies that do not play a role in policymaking if it finds it is capable of finding other financial resources.

The ministry last month said it is scheduled to unveil a revenue-boosting package by the end of this year to reduce the nation’s budget deficit, following reports that the nation is likely to see a significant shortfall in tax revenue this year.

Based on the latest report issued by the ministry, if tax revenue generated in the last three months of this year remains flat from last year, the shortfall in tax revenue may amount to NT$65.7 billion (US$2.23 billion).

However, after the prices for the nation’s 4G spectrum telecom licenses added up to NT$100.71 billion in the latest bidding on Friday last week, lawmakers voiced confidence that the higher-than-expected prices may help cover the tax shortfall for this year, and possibly for next year.

That led various lawmakers to request that the ministry drop its plan, in which government agencies would sell NT$6.5 billion of shares of local companies.

Chang said the government had budgeted for NT$30 billion in income from the bidding, which indicated a price higher than NT$100 billion could cover the tax shortfall this year.

However, the sale of shares by government agencies was to cover the expected tax shortfall next year, Chang added.

The ministry will do its best to find enough money, Chang said, adding that it may drop the plan if another source of funds is found.

In related news, the ministry is scheduled to launch a six-year plan from next year to claim back illegally occupied state-owned land.

The plan may help the government recoup NT$16.6 billion, including compensation and funds from the use of the land.

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