Sun, Aug 11, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Government policy key to economy

By Tu Jenn-hwa 杜震華

The Financial Supervisory Commission and the Ministry of Economic Affairs have finally reached a preliminary solution to their dispute over third party payments, the result of a new commission chief, compromise and finalization by the Cabinet. Companies are now sharpening their claws as they prepare to develop the big e-commerce and stored value services markets that will be opened up as a result.

Judging from the business opportunities and job creation born out of the success of China’s Taobao network, it can be predicted that the solution to the third party payment issue will stimulate Taiwan’s depressed economy and financial development, and that is praiseworthy.

The long delayed solution to this issue is also an excellent solution to Taiwan’s economic woes. Government controls, laws and regulations cannot keep up with quickly changing lifestyles and the changing social economy, while various restrictions are stopping officials from adjusting laws and regulations. Not only must they follow the law in their administration, they must also interpret it strictly, which stunts economic growth and leads to widespread public complaints.

With the heavy impact of globalization, the countries that are able to adjust their laws and regulations and manage to change the current situation will perform better economically. The ones that can not will end up like today’s Taiwan, where everyone is dejected and no one knows where the problem lies.

It is not entirely unreasonable that the commission will adopt strict controls of third-party payments. If the companies that receive and manage the money that goes into stored value services used large amounts of that capital for other profitable financial activities, that could clearly become a financial problem.

However, since this is a normal requirement that has arisen in the private sector, current management regulations could be applied more loosely so that these new business activities could get started right away, while concurrently establishing new legislation so that these activities can be placed under appropriate supervision and control in the not-too-

distant future.

If the urgency of society’s needs are completely disregarded and if controls are strict and inflexible, we will end up with a lose-lose scenario in which both the economic depression and public complaints continue, and this will only result in poor policy implementation.

An administrative area of Taipei with a wide road running alongside the river is another, slightly different, but still related example. Many mobile stall vendors began to gather along that road in the evenings, and they were often issued fines by the police because of the mess they created and because they violated the law.

Since their presence there does not disturb traffic, police at the local station agreed to charge the vendors a small “fee” each evening. After the agreement was made, orderliness improved and, since traffic was not affected, police and vendors got along well. Residents now have a new place to spend their evenings, which makes life a bit more interesting.

The only problem is that the police are receiving a fee in violation of the law. Wouldn’t the perfect solution be for the city government to organize a night market and charge fees legally instead of, as is currently the case, having the police accept money under the table?

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