Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet resubmits next year’s budget

HIGHLIGHTS:The budget proposals include a wage increase of 3 percent for public-sector employees and an extra NT$1 billion each for labor insurance and sports

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet yesterday revised and resubmitted a general budget request for the current fiscal year, estimating the nation’s expenditures and revenue over the next 12 months at NT$1.991 trillion and NT$1.897 trillion (US$66.1 billion and US$63 billion) respectively.

The new budget includes a NT$7 billion stock exchange tax revenue increase and an additional NT$6.8 billion in annual spending.

The nation is forecast to run up a deficit of NT$94.4 billion, in addition to NT$79.2 billion in debt due next year, meaning that the government must borrow NT$173.6 billion, or 8.7 percent of the projected spending, to cover the shortfall.

Following a Cabinet reshuffle on Friday last week due to the resignation of former premier Lin Chuan (林全), the Executive Yuan withdrew and revised budget proposals for next year, which are to be reviewed by the Legislative Yuan.

The highlights of the budget proposals include a general wage increase of 3 percent for public employees and additional funds for labor insurance and sports, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said.

The pay raise is expected to benefit 1.15 million public employees nationwide and lead to a moderate increase in GDP, public spending and commodity prices.

While GDP was last month projected to grow 2.27 percent next year, the public-sector wage hike could boost it another 0.6 percentage points, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) said.

The raise could cause the consumer price index (CPI) to rise 0.04 percent, which could grow by another 0.28 percent if the private sector follows suit, Chu added.

After factoring in an across-the-board pay raise, the CPI was forecast to increase 1.1 percent next year, he added.

The public-sector pay raise would cost NT$18 billion, which is to be provided through budget cuts and tax increases, Chu said.

The central government is to subsidize NT$3.8 billion in personnel costs for 14 financially unstable cities and counties, he added.

Also included in the proposed budget is an additional NT$1 billion to promote sports and train athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and NT$1 billion to subsidize labor insurance due to a monthly minimum wage increase from NT$21,009 to NT$22,000 next year.

Policies that would receive the largest share of funding include public infrastructure and river management (NT$249.5 billion), education (NT$295.8 billion), technology development (NT$115.1 billion), long-term care services (NT$33.9 billion), industrial innovation (NT$62 billion), air pollution prevention (NT$14 billion), Aboriginal affairs (NT$8.22 billion), the New Southbound Policy (NT$7.19 billion), food safety (NT$4.81 billion) and drug prevention (NT$3.31 billion).

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