Wed, Dec 20, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Insurers urged to invest in public projects

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet has announced plans to encourage insurance companies to invest in public infrastructure projects and the long-term care sector to increase private investment in government-led projects, and has unveiled new measures to streamline the review process of land development projects to expedite public construction and expropriation.

The insurance sector could invest as much as 10 percent of its disposable funds — about NT$22 trillion (US$733.58 billion) — on public infrastructure projects, but so far only 1 percent of that has been invested, suggesting a large untapped investment capacity, Financial Supervisory Commission Vice Chairman Cheng Cheng-mount (鄭貞茂) yesterday told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei introducing new measures to attract private investment.

“The Ministry of Finance is to standardize investment contracts, as insurance companies are unfamiliar with public infrastructure programs. Matching insurance companies with third-party businesses can also help insurance companies invest in public infrastructure projects,” Cheng said.

In addition to encouraging partnerships between insurance companies and other businesses in seeking government construction contracts, measures would to be taken to allow public infrastructure projects to be traded as securities, allowing the insurance sector to participate in infrastructure construction with a new financial tool, the ministry said.

Insurers have been requesting government approval to invest in the long-term care industry to facilitate the sale of related policies, Deputy Minister of Finance Chuang Tsui-yun (莊翠雲) said, adding that the approval would be granted following the passage of a draft act regulating long-term care institutions.

The Cabinet would recognize long-term care institutions as social welfare facilities next year, which would allow operators to enjoy tax benefits, thereby encouraging investment in the long-term care sector, she added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Interior announced plans to streamline the review process of development projects.

The review of major development projects, such as the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project, an urban renewal project in Taipei’s Shezidao (社子島) peninsula, and land expropriations for a planned science park in Hsinchu County’s Jhubei Township (竹北), has been stalled for years due to opposition to the plans.

To prevent delays in the review process, the interior ministry proposed establishing a pre-screening mechanism that would require local governments and itself to evaluate controversies likely to result from a development project and propose possible solutions before the official review process begins, Deputy Minister of the Interior Hua Ching-chun (花敬群) said.

The review process would be streamlined from a three-stage process to a two-stage one by simplifying expropriation evaluation, the interior ministry said.

“We are confident that, following the improvement, the review of major development projects will no longer be stalled indefinitely,” Hua said.

It is hoped that the review of major government-led development projects can be completed within a year, or at least within a predictable time frame, he said.

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