The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is being wasteful with its money, even as it complains that NT$100 million (US$3.4 million) has been slashed from its budget, which it says violates government principles regarding cutting expenses, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said yesterday.
After government organizational reforms began in January, decreasing the number of departments from 37 to 29 — 14 ministries, eight committees, three independent units, two headquarters and two affiliated organizations — many government units must expand or downsize their office space, meaning they need to refer to the amended versions of their organic acts to determine how large their new offices should be.
Chen said that even though the draft amendment to the Mainland Affairs Council Organic Law (大陸委員會組織法) still being under review and the council has no basis to change its office space, it was still allotting more than NT$53 million for office repair and maintenance.
Chen said that with the merger of the Mongolian and Tibetan affairs commission — which was to be demoted to the Mongolian Affairs Office and the Tibetan Affairs Office — and their inclusion in the MAC, the council’s allotted budget of more than NT$53 million to expand offices for the two units was too high.
It is not in accordance with the government’s principle of constraint of resource use, Chen said.
Chen said that in the past, funding for maintenance, building and repair for the council stood at about NT$100,000, and the total amount from 2000 to 2010 equaled NT$6.7 million.
The council has been using the reforms as an excuse to inflate its funding, budgeting NT$8.5 million last year, NT$23 million for this year and NT$21 million next year, totaling NT$53 million in just over three years, Chen said.
The council only held two public bids on construction projects last year and only spent NT$3.9 million out of its budget of NT$8.5 million, showing a lack of efficient usage of funds, Chen said, adding that despite the surge in funding, the council had yet to publicly announce any bids, placing its efficiency at zero after just settling its books in the past half year.
It is evident that the council has no use for its allotted budget, which begs the question of why the council needs to allot the budget in advance, Chen said, adding that when he comes across the budget review in the new legislative session starting tomorrow, he will cut it entirely.
Chen also said that aside from the office maintenance funding, the council had also used the excuse of “purchasing equipment for administrative purposes due to merging government units” and “digital safety and information security” to allot a total of NT$90 million over a course of three years.