Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Government restructuring approved

RESHUFFLE:The bills, if passed by the Legislative Yuan, would upgrade the EPA to a ministry of environmental resources and the COA to a ministry of agriculture

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

From left, Atomic Energy Council Deputy Minister Chiu Tzu-tsung, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai, Directorate-General of Personnel Administration Minister Jay Shih, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-yuan, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung and Executive Yuan Office of Science and Technology Executive Secretary Tsai Zse-hong attend a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved 43 draft amendments to the Organizational Act of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法), which, if passed by legislators, would implement a long-awaited restructuring of government, including upgrading the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to a ministry of environmental resources.

According to the draft amendments, the ministry of environmental resources would take over part of the responsibilities that fall under the Council of Agriculture (COA), the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).

Those include forestry and wildlife conservation, water and soil conservation, and weather forecasting.

Unlike other agencies involved in the restructuring, the proposed environment ministry would be practically an entirely new agency rather than the product of an internal reorganization, Directorate-General of Personnel Administration Minister Jay Shih (施能傑) told a news conference in Taipei.

The Central Weather Bureau would become a central weather administration under the environment ministry, the draft amendments say.

EPA agencies in charge of regulating toxic substances and conducting environmental inspections are to become the toxic substances and chemicals administration and the environmental management bureau.

A new research institute of biodiversity and forest protection is also to be created under the new environment ministry, Shih said.

Water management tasks relating to economic development — including the appropriation of water for industrial use and river remediation projects — would remain within the purview of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, he said.

Responding to media queries, EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) denied that the proposed new ministry would be a “grand ministry,” saying its budget is likely to be far smaller than the budgets allocated to the MOTC, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of National Defense.

The tasks of the new ministry — responding to climate change and cutting carbon dioxide emissions — would be highly challenging, meaningful and in line with global trends, he said, as he thanked employees at the other agencies for their willingness to become part of the new ministry.

According to the amendments, the interior ministry would continue to govern national parks, a proposal that Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) lauded, saying that it is “better equipped” to take care of the parks, especially when it comes to formulating construction management and urban renewal plans.

The draft amendments also seek to adjust the responsibilities of the Construction and Planning Agency, which is expected to be become a national land management administration.

The amendments also propose upgrading the COA to a ministry of agriculture with three new agencies.

They are the water resources agency for farming communities and irrigation, the agricultural services and financing administration, and the agricultural science parks management office.

The proposed amendments embody the “final piece of the puzzle” for restructuring the government, Shih said.

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