Mon, Dec 20, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Legislators seeking increased funding for outlying islands

By Flora Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday said the central government should request additional funding for outlying islands because a national fund ensuring their development had sunk dangerously low.

Twenty-two KMT legislators, including Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) and Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠), proposed that the government request a minimum budget of NT$3 billion (US$100,000) per year for the Offshore Islands Development Fund (離島建設基金) to facilitate construction on the nation’s outlying islands and ensure the sustainability of the fund.

The fund was established in 2001 with the stipulation that its financial resources should remain at NT$30 billion.

Under Article 16 of the Offshore Islands Development Act (離島建設條例), the government must help the fund ensure that this level is maintained by requesting annual budgets for a period of 10 years if necessary.

The government reached the goal by earmarking about NT$3.2 billion every year between 2001 and last year, and NT$1.2 billion this year.

However, about NT$3 billion was spent annually between 2001 and 2005, and about NT$1.2 billion per year between 2006 and this year, to subsidize construction projects on the islands.

The legislators said they were concerned about the financial status of the fund, as less than NT$10 billion remained after the expenditures from the past decade.

Tsao told the Executive Yuan’s Offshore Islands Development Committee last month that the fund could be completely consumed in four years if the government failed to appropriate new budgets for the fund.

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) has previously promised to seek the budget request. He said that construction projects on the outlying islands would not be affected by the budget concerns.

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