The Legislative Yuan Budget Center issued a warning that military personnel costs for the next fiscal year are 53.7 percent of the central government’s personnel budget, the highest in the past five years.
The center’s report for last month, titled Evaluation of the Central Government Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, said that the Executive Yuan should find additional sources of funding for the nation’s growing defense budget, a call the center also made the previous month.
The central government’s personnel budget for next year is NT$426.7 billion (US$13.8 billion), of which 155.7 billion, or 36.5 percent, is allocated to the Ministry of National Defense, the report said.
When the Veterans Affairs Council’s budget for military pensions are included, the military’s share of the central government’s personnel costs increases to 53.7 percent, it said.
That a majority of the central government’s personnel budget is expended by the ministry reflects “a use of resources that is obviously biased toward a minority of apparatuses and a specific subset of governmental personnel,” it said.
Additionally, the Ministry of National Defense’s operational budget next year of NT$265.7 billion is an annual increase of 26.2 billion, or 10.9 percent, most of which is accounted for by costs associated with the procurement and maintenance of military equipment, it said.
The total cost of military equipment is 45.8 percent of the central government’s operating budget, it said.
The Executive Yuan should take measures to alleviate the concentration of personnel and operational funding going to the ministry, it said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that since former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration decided to transition to a volunteer military, the problem has been building up and there is no solution for it at the moment.
Should the government continue with the plan for an all-volunteer military, increasing national defense costs are inevitable, Wang said.
“One of the few things we can do would be to maximize the return on the military budget by making precise military investments, and increasing personnel quality and operational efficiency,” he said.
In its report for July, Analysis of Central Government Budget, Expenditures and Allocation of Resources Trends in Recent Years, the center said that the ministry has repeatedly raised salaries and benefits to encourage enlistment, which will increase long-term defense costs.
The government should expand revenue before the military’s personnel costs began to crowd out other public programs, the July report said.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and