Economics chief vows to tackle bonus, nuke issues

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 - Page 13

Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) yesterday pledged to lead the ministry to resolve controversial issues facing the nation on his first day in office.

Chang, a former chairman of China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空), said he would also work hard to enhance the country’s economic performance and communicate more with the public about the government’s efforts.

“Becoming the minister of economic affairs is a surprise among a string of surprises in my career,” Chang said at an event held by the ministry to wish staff members a good year after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Despite his past experience at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and state-run China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), Chang said he felt huge pressure as the new minister, but said he realized that the government should be a problem solver for the public, rather than a problem maker.

“Private companies and the public want to know how the government can help them make higher profits or how it can help make their lives better. I expect the ministry can become a government body that citizens respect, rather than one it holds in contempt,” Chang said.

Asked whether the ministry has come up with plans to address the issue of high year-end bonuses at state-run enterprises, Chang said it would require a thorough review of the bonus system first.

However, “business management responsibility and political responsibility” should be evaluated separately and it is necessary to let people know the enterprises’ operating conditions, he said.

Regarding state-owned Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which has been under construction for more than 10 years, Chang said he understood the public’s biggest concern was about the safety of the plant.

“Before the plant begins to operate, professional construction consultation is needed, and we will not omit that process,” he said.

“The ministry cannot promise how soon the construction can be finished because we don’t have the professional knowledge, but we will set the highest standards of safety at the plant and ask Taipower to fulfill its duties,” he said.

As for state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) pricing strategies, Chang said the company needs to follow market mechanisms.

“Even though CPC is a state-owned enterprise, it should operate as a private company,” he said. “The ministry will demand that CPC publicize its pricing formula to gain credibility. We will make our strongest efforts to avoid seeing problems of unfairness.”