President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday instructed the Executive Yuan’s price stabilization task force to devote its efforts to keeping track of consumer goods prices and preventing monopolization.
“The adjustment of fuel and electricity prices will inevitably affect people’s lives, but the price stabilization task force is checking retail prices regularly, and will handle any attempts at monopolization or price hikes in accordance with the law,” Ma said, when presiding over the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee in his capacity as party chairman.
The Council for Economic Planning and Development yesterday presented a report on measures to stabilize prices of consumer goods following fuel price hikes and an impending electricity rate rise.
Vice chairman of the council Hu Chung-ying (胡仲英) said the government would subsidize public transportation and taxis to keep transportation fares unchanged. The Ministry of Agriculture will check the price of agricultural products regularly, while the Ministry of Finance will reduce tariffs on milk powder, butter, corn starch and soybean powder to keep the prices of major consumer items under control.
The measures were presented following a fuel price increase of about NT$3 per liter earlier this month, which came after the government decided to reduce the financial burden on it from its subsidy to CPC Corp, Taiwan.
In addition, from May 15, household electricity rates are due to increase by an average of 16.9 percent, commercial electricity rates by 30 percent and industrial rates by 35 percent.
Ma yesterday acknowledged the fuel and electricity price increases will inevitably provoke complaints, but insisted that most retail prices have not increased as a result.
“The prices for agricultural products, pigs and chickens remain relatively low, and therefore the fuel price increase and electricity rate hike did not cause an increase in all consumer goods, although consumers did not feel this way,” he said.
While defending the fuel and electricity hikes as a measure to bring them in line with market prices, Ma said the Ministry of the Interior will continue to offer subsidies and take care of the disadvantaged.