Fri, Dec 22, 2017 - Page 12 News List

NDC reveals plans to bolster economy

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

National Development Council (NDC) plans next year to strengthen digital data integration among government agencies and pursue balanced development between urban and rural areas, as well as address the nation’s fast-aging population.

“We believe there is room for improvement on data sharing and integration among different government agencies which can create tremendous economic values,” NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) told a year-end news conference yesterday.

Better utilization of digital data could mean great business opportunities, especially for young entrepreneurs, and the council would lend a helping hand by being a more effective coordinator and integrator, Chen said.

The government is to pay close attention to information safety and privacy protections when approaching the policy, she said.

An information safety bill won support from a legislative committee, a positive for the government’s bid to spur GDP growth through big data applications.

The council plans to encourage young people to pursue careers in their hometowns as part of efforts to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas, Chen said.

The Ministry of Interior is to provide national spatial planning measures next year and the National Development Fund could provide financial aid to those who have plans to revitalize rural areas, Chen said.

The policy aims to attract people to less populated areas such as Hualien and Taitung, where housing and affordability is not an issue, Chen said.

The council is also to build non-special municipalities “smart” cities plans.

The government has set aside NT$1.97 billion (US$65.69 million) to install “smart” meters, street lights and other devices in those areas, Chen said.

The government should brace itself for unfavorable demographic trends after the working population took a downturn in 2015, Chen said, adding the council has made raising the fertility rate its top priority.

Taiwan’s fertility rate was 1.17 last year, with 208,000 births, Chen said.

The number of births is expected to drop to less than 200,000 this year, with about 171,000 births in the first 11 months of the year, she said.

The number of people aged 65 or older overtook that of children younger than 15 for the first time in February and is expected to account for 14 percent of the population next year, officially making Taiwan an aged society, she said.

Taiwan is ranked 219th in the world in terms of birth rate by the CIA’s World Factbook, seventh from last.

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