Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) administration has failed to implement policies to solve the city’s youth unemployment problem, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said yesterday.
According to statistics released by the city government, the unemployment rate among people aged between 25 and 29 is 8.9 percent, the highest in recent years.
The city has proposed allocating NT$1.3 million (US$40,612) to provide subsidies to Taipei residents aged between 18 and 29 whose monthly income is less than NT$27,600, she said.
Those who qualify would receive a monthly subsidy of NT$5,000 for up to six months.
Wang said the policy belied Ko’s remark that he is against one-time spending and the budget would only be enough to subsidize 240 people.
Taipei Department of Labor Commissioner Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) said the subsidy was introduced in 2011 when unemployment surged because of a global economic downturn.
Recipients were not limited to young people, she added.
Given that unemployment is currently the highest among young people, the subsidy is available only to young people, she said.
She added that it is a passive policy aimed at improving young people’s lives, but that a more proactive solution would be to match employers with jobseekers.
Ko said Taipei’s overall unemployment rate of 3.8 percent is particularly high among the nation’s six special municipalities.
When broken down by age brackets, the unemployment rate among people aged 25 to 29 are disproportionately high, he said.
The mayor said that he could not think of a good solution at the spur of the moment, but that he would instruct his officials to study the cause of the problem and introduce policies to solve the youth unemployment problem.
In related news, Taipei Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Liou Ming-lone (劉銘龍) yesterday said that his agency would ask the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to intervene in a pollution case caused by asphalt plants in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止).
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) said during a council meeting that residents in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) have been complaining about fumes allegedly emitted by the Sijhih plants, which have permeated the air in Nangang.
Liou said that the three plants — Chuan Sheng (詮盛), Ta Yu (大友) and Chin Ho Tai (金和泰) — has since 2011 been fined a total of NT$2.63 million for 53 violations.
Saying that the asphalt plants have close ties with certain politicians and that the New Taipei City Government buys their asphalt, Kao asked Ko how he plans to deal with the plants.
Kao said that the fines obviously failed to deter the plants and asked Liou for countermeasures.
Ko said that one strategy is to publish the names of the plant operators on the Internet, so that the public would know about the pollution they have been causing.
Liou said that he would order his department to streamline communication with its New Taipei City counterpart, and that if the problem persists, his agency would as the EPA’s Bureau of Environmental Inspection to take action against the plants.
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