Thu, May 31, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Premier makes U-turn, accepts Liu resignation

FLIP-FLOP:The approval came less than a day after the premier said Liu should stay on to work on a new version of a capital gains tax on securities transactions

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

An employee of a removal company moves the belongings of Minister of Finance Christina Liu after she offered her resignation on the ministry’s Web site and took the day off in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

In an abrupt about-turn, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday approved Minister of Finance Christina Liu’s (劉憶如) resignation letter after she offered to step down on Tuesday, when the Cabinet’s original proposal for a capital gains tax on securities transactions was rejected by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

The approval came less than a day after Chen said he wanted Liu to stay on to help negotiate a new version of the tax that would be acceptable to both the Cabinet and KMT lawmakers.

Chen said Deputy Minister of Finance William Tseng (曾銘宗) would take over Liu’s position until a successor is found.

The KMT legislative caucus proposed a new version of the tax late on Monday, called a “dual-track mechanism,” under which investors’ gains from trading securities would be taxed at a rate of between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent only when the benchmark TAIEX is higher than 8,500 points, if they choose to have the tax based on the level of the index.

Under the Cabinet’s original plan, individual investors would be taxed between 15 percent and 20 percent on their annual gains of more than NT$4 million (US$134,400).

Following a brief meeting with Liu regarding her offer to resign on Tuesday evening, Chen decided to put off a decision on whether Liu should stay or leave until after the tax issue had been resolved.

Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said Chen told Liu that she would have to remain in her position until her resignation had been approved.

On Monday night, Liu told a TV talk show that she had insisted on resigning, but that she would help negotiate a compromise while the Executive Yuan looked for a successor.

However, Liu took a day off yesterday and a removal company was seen picking up packages from her office several times in the afternoon.

Liu tendered a leave-of-absence form to the Executive Yuan to go on leave from yesterday until her resignation had been approved, Hu said.

Chen approved her resignation at 6pm, Hu added.

Meanwhile, Tseng said he would lead the Finance Ministry and manage all the minister’s duties.

“I will ask all my colleagues at the ministry to remain in their posts in the interim period,” Tseng said.

Additional reporting by Amy Su

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