Sat, May 03, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Jobs budget plan passes easy as pie

ALLOCATION The bill finally concluded to allocate a total of NT$58.4 billion for infrastructure projects -- NT$8.4 billion more than the requested

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislature finalized the third reading of the next public construction budget plan yesterday morning, setting up statutory grounds for the government's motion of encouraging more nationwide infrastructure schemes through financial support in order to inspire a better employment condition and reviving prosperity.

The bill finally concluded to allocate a total of NT$58.4 billion for national and local infrastructure projects, a figure that is NT$8.4 billion more than the Executive Yuan had originally requested.

The budget plan, since it was presented by the Executive Yuan in January, has proceeded relatively smootly through 14 inter-party negotiations in the legislature.

Yesterday's passage of the bill was the result of a combined effort on behalf of both ruling and opposition party lawmakers .

"It is a rare sight to see both ruling and opposition party lawmakers reach an agreement of this sort in short order as has occurred today. This event could serve a good example for expediting future [multi-party] legislative negotiations efficiently," DPP Legislator Lin Chung-cheng (林忠正) said.

Lin said that the high-speed progress could be an indication that the lawmakers' have an understanding that the nation is in dire need of such a financial initiative as the nation battles the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) contagion.

TSU legislative caucus convener Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君) concurred with Lin on his assessment of the passage of the draft legislation.

"We were greatful for today's progress and hoped that future negotiations can be conducted in a similar rational manner between the ruling and opposition parties," she said.

According to the newly-ratified law, the Executive Yuan is required to obtain NT$25 billion of the budget allotment from current finances. The remaining NT$33.4 billion has been allocated from other sources. Restrictions imposed by the Public Debt Law (公共債務法) have been waived for this ad hoc budgeting arrangement of the second lump of funding.

The extra NT$8.4 billion -- a more recent compromise between the ruling and opposition parties -- was designated particularly for townships' applications for public works to the central government via relevant county or municipal governments. Townships are required to file their applications within 10 day after passage of yesterday's bill.

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