Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Yu Shyi-kun enters presidential end game

With seven months left before next March's presidential election, the Executive Yuan is busy promoting the achievements made by the government while the Democratic Progressive Party's legislative caucus focuses on attacking the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party and People First Party's efforts to stifle bills initiated by the government. `Taipei Times' staff reporter Ko Shu-ling talks with Premier Yu Shyi-kun about the government's achievements made over the past three years and what to look forward to

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Premier Yu Shyi-kun says the DPP will continue pushing for reforms despite the looming presidential election.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei Times: Since the DPP came to power in May 2000, it has been harshly criticized by both opposition parties and the public for poorly managing the country. What do you think of the criticism?

Yu Shyi-kun: I'm well aware that most of the criticisms are targeted at the economy. Two factors are attributed to the economic doldrums: the unique structure of the domestic markets and the global economic downturn.

To solve the two problems once and for all, we launched the six-year, NT$2.6 trillion national development project in May this year followed by many other economy revival measures. As the international economic climate is projected to gradually rebound, I'm confident that the public will eventually enjoy the fruits of our labors.

One thing I'd like to point out here is that the DPP-led government is much more efficient in terms of carrying out government policies than the previous KMT administrations.

To name a few, the expansion of the No. 9 provincial highway will soon be completed while it should've been completed six years ago during the stint of then Taiwan Provincial Governor James Soong (宋楚瑜).

The Northern Second Freeway should become operational by the end of the year. One thing worth mentioning about this project is that it cost the government NT$20 billion less than was originally projected.

One of the reasons that people don't feel the immediate resuscitation of the economy is because many of the undertakings don't have direct relations with their everyday life. Regarding such endeavors as administrative neutrality, realization of human rights and sustainable development of the environment, it may take some time for the public to eventually realize the effects.

TT: You've said that the next seven months will be a time of harvest. What achievements do you think the government can show to the public in the run-up to the presidential election?

Yu: While we've made many achievements over the past three years, I'll just touch on some of the areas most people might be most concerned about.

First of all, the economic growth rate is projected to be lowered from last year's 3.6 percent to 3 percent by the end of the year. The jobless rate, which hit a record high of 5.17 percent last year, is estimated to drop to 4.83 percent by the end of this year. The stock market and real estate market are expected to continue their steady resuscitation.

As we'll continue the "258 financial reform scheme," we hope to see the non-performing loans (NPL) ratio reduced to 5 percent and the capital-adequacy ratio raised to 8 percent within two years. As of the second quarter of this year, we've written off over NT$500 billion worth of bad loans and the rate of non-performing loans is estimated to drop from 8.04 percent down to 5.68 percent by the end of the year.

In addition, the number of international research and development centers established here has reached 10 and that of domestic ones has reached 42.

The number of regional operation headquarters is recorded at 150 and is expected to reach 250 by the end of the year.

Investment in public construction projects by private corporations' was registered at NT$630 million last year and we estimate the amount to reach NT$100 billion by the end of the year. We also expect to lure foreign investors to commit NT$130 billion during the October business alliance conference.

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