Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 4 News List

CLA to again offer Lunar New Year loans to workers

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

To help cash-strapped workers get through the Lunar New Year holiday, the Council of Labor Affairs yesterday announced it would again offer a program for low-interest loans.

"Because working people have been working hard all year, we feel we should help them get through times of financial need," said council Chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊).

Chen said that the program was the result of listening to workers' needs.

"Many legislators, regardless of party affiliation, expressed the need for such a program," said Chen.

Chen said the Bureau of Labor Insurance has set aside NT$15 billion for the loans.

"Last year, we offered the same program, with a budget of NT$12.5 billion, providing loans to 10,000 workers. Ninety percent of participants in the program paid back the principal within seven months. We were very surprised and delighted at this outcome," Chen said.

The principal and interest must be paid back within three years.

Chen said that people interested in applying for a loan must meet three requirements: they must have participated in the labor insurance program for 15 years; they must not have any unpaid premiums; and they must not have participated in the loan program before.

"The size of the loan ranges from NT$10,000 to NT$20,000," Chen said.

"The interest rate we are charging is 2.98 percent, which is lower than rates offered by commercial banks and insurance companies," Chen said.

Bureau director-general Liao Huei-ying (廖慧英) said that workers should visit various Land Bank branches and complete the necessary paperwork between Dec. 3 and Dec. 19.

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