Fri, Aug 16, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet reveals budget with 5.7% defence boost

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled its budget plans for the next fiscal year, in which the nation’s estimated expenditure and revenue both top NT$2 trillion (US$63.7 billion) for the first time, and defense spending is increased.

The biggest share of the budget was earmarked for social welfare, for which NT$524.5 billion (24.9 percent) was allocated, followed by education and science, which is estimated to cost NT$428.2 billion (20.4 percent), statistics released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) showed.

With NT$343.5 billion, national defense received the third-largest share at 16.4 percent, compared with 16.3 percent for the current fiscal year. That marks a NT$18.8 billion, or 5.7 percent, rise from a year earlier, the statistics showed.

The increase consists of a hike of NT$9.7 billion in personnel costs, which are required to sustain the nation’s all-volunteer force; NT$7.8 billion in military equipment investment; and NT$1.3 billion in maintenance costs for aircraft, vessels and vehicles, the statistics showed.

The Ministry of National Defense has planned to invest NT$96 billion in military equipment, while the increase in personnel costs is mainly because the nation aims boost the number of military personnel from about 80 percent of the recruitment goal to 90 percent, DGBAS Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan.

Meanwhile, subsidies to families with children aged two to five — which would total NT$1.54 billion — contribute to most of the increase in the social welfare budget, he said.

Notably, it is the first time in 22 years that the central government budget has matched its expected revenue (NT$2.1 trillion), which shows that the government is one that values accountability in politics and is disciplined in handling its finances, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said after a Cabinet meeting.

The government expects a net income of NT$39.2 billion in fees collected in the coming fiscal year, which would mainly be made up of licensing fees collected from companies that have applied to offer 5G services, the DGBAS said.

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