Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 3 News List

DPP calls special legislative session to review budget

CNA, with staff writer

The Legislative Yuan has scheduled an extraordinary session for later this month to review the first-phase budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

The NT$420 billion (US$13.9 billion) budget for the first four years of the program was drawn up and submitted for legislative review after lawmakers passed a Special Budget Statute for Forward-Looking Infrastructure early last month.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said his party is planning to hold an extra session starting on Aug. 21 to review the more than NT$100 billion budget for the first phase and that he hoped the bill would pass its second and third reading before Aug. 31.

Ker said the party was to invite Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) to call on lawmakers to negotiate the budget bill before the Legislature begins its review.

Su is to bring DPP and opposition lawmakers together on Aug. 18 for budget talks, the party said.

The legislators are on summer recess after completing the last extraordinary session on July 21.

During that session, the budget bill on July 19 passed a first reading amid clashes between DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, some of whom threw water balloons.

The party said it hopes the budget plan clears the floor of the Legislative Yuan before September, when the first stage of the implementation of the massive public works project is scheduled to begin.

KMT lawmakers have argued that the pplan is anything but forward-looking, lacks careful planning and is overstated.

They have also said the review process breached legal requirements and was unconstitutional.

The first stage of implementation is expected to cost NT$108.90 billion from September this year to December next year.

The budget includes NT$17.07 billion toward railway transportation construction, NT$25.67 billion to improve the local aquatic environment, NT$8.12 billion for renewable energy development, NT$16.17 billion for digital development and NT$35.41 billion for urban and rural development.

It also allocates NT$1.96 billion to build a better environment for children, NT$310 million to enhance food safety and NT$4.2 billion to foster local talent.

The KMT legislative caucus has asked its lawmakers to cut the budget for the first stage of implementation of the infrastructure plan or file a motion to freeze the budget bill.

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