The government is in the red and national liability has ballooned by NT$1.5 trillion (US$50 billion) compared with last year, placing Taiwan on the stage as a potential player in what may be Asia’s Greek tragedy, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Yeh Chin-ling (葉津玲) said yesterday.
The government’s income next year is estimated to be NT$1.79 billion, but its expenditure stands at NT$1.95 billion, placing the nation NT$160 billion in debt, Yeh said, adding that the government was falling NT$200 billion more into debt every year.
The government has overestimated its tax income, and while the growth rate of the debt has slowed, the account liability has swelled tremendously, Yeh said.
Yeh also said that liability and debt growth were continuing to surge, adding that by June, liability accrued by all levels of government reached NT$17 trillion — surpassing the nation’s annual income.
The factor contributing the most to liability growth in the past year was labor insurance, which amounted to NT$1.3 trillion, NT$948 billion more than its estimated annual growth of NT$394 billion, Yeh said.
Unless the Bureau of Labor Insurance made a gross error in its calculations, the discrepancy is a conscious action designed to scare workers with the idea that “the Labor Insurance Fund would go broke,” Yeh said.
“If President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration does not tackle the annuity funding issue, the nation stands to become the next Greece and default on its debts,” she added.
Yeh said that regardless of the figures’ accuracy, the nation has a tremendous amount of liability and is seeing shortages among all four government funds — the Labor Insurance Fund, the labor pension, the civil service pension and the planned annuity fund.
The funds are the main source of pensions for retirees.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did