Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet must adjust budget: forum

POTENTIAL PROBLEM A former Financial Supervisory Commission chairman said the government’s budget should change to reflect a contraction in GDP this year

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, right, talks to Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei at the Taiwan Citizen Conference yesterday.

PHOTO: CNA

Participants at the Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs yesterday called on the government to rewrite its budget for this year to reflect the nation’s dismal economic performance.

Former Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) said the government should adjust its budget because the original was based on a prediction of 5.4 percent GDP for this year.

Last week, the government forecast GDP would contract by 2.97 percent for the year, raising the possibility of a NT$200 billion (US$600 million) tax deficit, Hu said.

The government should acknowledge the situation and rethink the budget to ensure government funds are spent wisely, Hu said.

BAILOUT FUNDS

He called for the government to improve its financial supervision and disciplinary mechanisms to ensure that money lent to ailing enterprises is spent as planned.

Hu said a law should also be passed to require transparency in the loans.

In addition, greater transparency is need in the use of the National Development Fund and the National Stabilization Fund to help enterprises and boost the stock market.

On the issue of social welfare and social security, National Taiwan University professor Lin Wan-i (林萬億) said the government should be quick to identify families on the brink of poverty and families that have recently slipped under the poverty line and help them with funds.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Lin said the conference reached a conclusion calling on the government to extend unemployment benefits from six months to one year and improve the social security network as unemployment is expected to keep rising.

Lin said the government should focus on promoting industries in such a way as to boost the white-collar sector.

Lin said the government should review its foreign labor policy, reduce the number of foreign workers and open these jobs for Taiwanese.

AT THE CONFERENCE

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union invited President Ma Ying-jeou to attend the conference, but the Presidential Office said Ma declined in response to the DPP’s “vicious interference” at the legislature in a presentation by Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄).

However, Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) and Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) did attend the conference.

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