Sat, Dec 06, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Use construction funds quickly: premier

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday called on representatives of 11 local governments to speed up subcontracting construction projects covered by the NT$58.3 billion (US$1.73 billion) budget earmarked for expanding local construction to drive economic growth.

Those invited to attend a meeting with Liu yesterday were the representatives of counties and cities where the percentage of construction already subcontracted was less than 75 percent.

The representatives were from Ilan, Hsinchu, Taitung, Nantou, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Changhua, Taipei, Yunlin and Pingtung counties and Chiayi City.

“Attendants from the local governments all promised at the meeting that they would lift the ratio to 99 percent by the end of this year,” Public Construction Commission Chairman Frank Fan (范良銹) told a press conference following the meeting.

The NT$58.3 billion stimulus plan was the first proposal presented by the government to bolster the economy after it assumed office in late May, and almost all the money was sent to local governments in late August following approval by the legislature in the middle of July.

Initially, the government wanted all the money to be spent by the end of this year, which it said would add 0.24 percent to economic growth this year, but the execution of the projects has been delayed for various reasons.

Fan said the average subcontracting rate of the country’s 25 counties and cities was 72.09 percent.

Local governments are required by the legislature to return any money that has not been used by the end of this year to the treasury, Fan said.

Among the 11 governments, the Pingtung County Government had used only 2.45 percent of its allotted money as of the end of last month because of a boycott by the county’s council on construction plans proposed by Pingtung County Government.

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