Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Minister of finance defends spending on UN-bid publicity

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Minister of Finance Ho Chih-chin (何志欽) yesterday defended the propriety of his ministry's decision to fund the publicity campaign for the country's bid to join the UN, saying the funding "benefits the overall publicity" of the administrative policy.

Ho made the remarks at the legislature, where Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers grilled him and other Ministry of Finance officials over allegations the government was spending too much money on a publicity campaign for the country's bid to join the UN under the name "Taiwan" and a UN-bid referendum initiated by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The heads of the Central Deposit Insurance Corp, the Bank of Taiwan, the Land Bank of Taiwan and the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp said they had given NT$2.5 million (US$76,700) to the Government Information Office (GIO) to help finance the UN-bid publicity. An Export-Import Bank official said it gave NT$500,000.

KMT Legislator Lee Chi-chu (李紀珠) said the ministry also gave the GIO NT$3 million.

KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said the ministry had breached the Budget Law (預算法).

Hsieh Fu-teng (謝福燈), director of the ministry's Department of Accounting, said the allocation was not "misuse" and could be considered regular administrative spending.

DPP Legislator Lin Wen-lang (林文郎) said there was nothing wrong with government agencies helping the Executive Yuan to raise the nation's international publicity and competitiveness.

Once Taiwan's international competitiveness has increased, foreign funds will flow in, which would benefit everyone, Lin said.

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