Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Executive Yuan approves next year's annual budget

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved next year's annual budget and this year's second additional budget requests, while the controversial NT$520 billion special budget for weaponry procurement from the US failed to make it to the Cabinet meeting.

The approved budget requests will proceed to the legislature for further review and final approval.

According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics chief Liu San-chi (劉三錡), next year's annual expenditures are projected at NT$1.61 trillion and revenues at NT$1.35 trillion.

The projected expenditures represent a 2.7 percent increase compared to this year and annual income a 1.5 percent decrease.

The NT$257.4 billion deficit and NT$56.1 billion in debt repayment would be covered by issuing NT$240 billion in public bonds, as well as a surplus of NT$48.5 billion from previous fiscal years.

Of the NT$1.61 trillion in projected expenditures, NT$309.9 billion, or 19.2 percent of the total, would be for educational, cultural and scientific purposes.

This is followed by 17.7 percent, or NT$285.6 billion, for social welfare; 15.6 percent, or NT$251.9 billion, for national defense; and 15.4 percent, or NT$247.9 billion, for economic development.

The Cabinet yesterday also approved this year's second additional budget request.

The additional expenditures amounted to a projected NT$28.79 billion and revenues at NT$3.79 billion.

Of the total projected expenditures, NT$25 billion would be used to compensate for agricultural losses resulting from the nation's entry into the WTO. The amount, which would be exempted from the money the government could borrow, would be covered by issuing public bonds.

Next year's budget

* NT$309.9 billion for educational, cultural and scientific purposes.

* NT$285.6 billion for social welfare.

* NT$251.9 billion for national defense.

* NT$247.9 billion for economic development.

* Total: Expenditures of NT$1.61 trillion and revenues of NT$1.35 trillion.

Source: Taipei Times

The remaining NT$3.79 billion would be used for the pensions program, which came into effect on July 1.

The NT$3.79 billion projected revenues would come from the surplus earned from lottery ticket sales.

This year's first additional budget request totaled NT$77.7 billion.

It consisted of a NT$58.4 billion budget for construction projects and a NT$19.3 billion public-service employment project.

Despite mounting speculation that the Ministry of National Defense would request a special budget of NT$520 billion for arms procurement, the proposal failed to be included in the agenda of yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

"I doubt that the ministry would make the budget request before September, as the media have speculated, although the defense ministry is carefully evaluating this possibility," said Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳).

"There's a standard procedure to be followed in terms of arms procurement and our stance is clear. That is, we have to take into consideration the cross-strait military situation and the government's financial position," he said.

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