Fri, Jan 13, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen pledges reforms to promote social justice


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) pledged yesterday that the government will deepen reforms to further enhance social justice and fairness, adding that some of these reforms have already borne fruit.

The president made the remarks in the latest edition of his weekly e-newsletter.

Chen said that in his National Day address last year, he emphasized that the government's policies must strike a balance between prosperity and justice.

To this end, he advocated reforms in six major areas covering the country's financial system, the taxation system, the 18 percent preferential interest rate for civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers, the media, the stolen assets of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and the Constitution.

Among the measures taken under the reforms, the minimum tax-rate system targeting high-income earners was implemented on Jan. 1 this year, and a new scheme governing the retirement benefits of civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers is set to take effect on Feb. 16, he said. The government's efforts to end political influence in the media has also made progress following the enactment of a law on the release of government-held stakes in media organizations, he said.

In terms of financial reforms, he said, the government achieved last year its targets of halving the number of state-owned banks and having at least three domestic banks increase their market shares to more than 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the income tax exemption for civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers is expected to be abolished within two years, he said.

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