Kinmen County Council passed a draft bill yesterday that would entitle every resident of the outlying island to receive NT$10,800 (US$324) in liquor vouchers this year.
The council passed the bill that was proposed after Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc — the island’s biggest company — offered a portion of its annual profits to the county’s residents.
The bill states that each Kinmen resident born prior to Jan. 16, 2009, and whose household registration was registered in Kinmen prior to Dec. 31, 2006, will be presented by Kinmen Kaoliang with NT$3,600 in vouchers on Tomb Sweeping Day, at the Dragon Boat Festival and at the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, redeemable for the company’s products sold at its retail outlets.
It is estimated that it will cost Kinmen Kaoliang around NT$1 billion to supply about 56,000 registered residents of Kinmen with its products. The move is fashioned on the consumer vouchers that the central government is giving to all Taiwanese in a bid to stimulate consumption and boost economic growth.
Kinmen County Council also resolved that the county government should take the opportunity while distributing the liquor vouchers to count the island’s “ghost population” — estimated to number about 28,000 — most of whom maintain household registrations but do not actually reside on the island.
County government census figures show that the registered population of Kinmen stands at about 84,000, some 28,000 of whom are believed to be the “ghost population” — residents of Taiwan proper who have retained their household registrations in Kinmen based on political considerations, as well as some Kinmen residents who have moved to Taiwan proper for the sake of their children’s education, leaving their houses on Kinmen empty.
Kinmen County Commissioner Lee Chu-feng (李柱烽) said the successful county-run liquor company has a responsibility to give back to society and that it would also help sponsor activities to deepen the nation’s understanding of how Kinmen suffered during the battle between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party.
Kinmen Kaoliang, originally established by the military posted on Kinmen as a business unit, was handed over to the Kinmen County Government in 1992 after the military relinquished administrative control of the island.
The company posted pre-tax earnings of NT$478 billion last year, a record high.
In related news, the Presidential Office said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will donate his year-end bonus to charitable groups.
All of Ma’s NT$360,000 bonus will be given to various charity groups, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said, adding that Presidential Office staff were finalizing which groups would receive a donation and how it would be given.
During the Lunar New Year holiday, Ma will visit various cities and counties and hand out 150,000 red envelopes to local residents in person, Wang said. The red envelopes will feature the president’s calligraphy on the cover and one golden coin-shaped chocolate inside.
Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) yesterday said Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) will also donate his year-end bonus to charitable groups.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING By MO YAN-CHIH AND SHIH HSIU-CHUAN