Funds will perform better: premier

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Nov 14, 2012 - Page 3

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday said the government would continue to seek ways to improve the performance of four government funds that reportedly incurred losses of billions of New Taiwan dollars last year.

Chen said at a legislative hearing that a panel, made up of members of the Cabinet and the Examination Yuan, was established earlier this year to discuss the issue and come up with solutions.

“The funds will perform better this year than last year,” Chen said.

The four government funds — the Civil Servants Pension Fund, the Postal Savings Fund, the Labor Insurance Fund and the Labor Pension Fund — incurred total losses of NT$89.8 billion (US$3.09 billion) last year, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) has said.

In addition, the Labor Pension Fund and Labor Insurance Fund together incurred more than NT$100 million in losses in 2010 after two firms contracted to manage the funds invested in shares of Ablerex Electronics Co, a leading manufacturer of uninterrupted power supply equipment that was involved in a stock price manipulation scandal, Council of Labor Affairs Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) said earlier this month.

While a NT$50 million loss suffered by the Labor Insurance Fund has mostly been compensated, the Council of Labor Affairs is still negotiating compensation with ING Securities Investment and Trust Co over the loss of NT$81 million suffered by the Labor Pension Fund, Pan said.

Asked by DPP Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) whether the government would investigate if there was illegal trading involved, Chen said the council and the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) are jointly probing the case.

The FSC is cross-referencing information from the GRETAI Securities Market and the Taiwan Stock Exchange to see if there was any illegal trading involved, Chen said.

Chen also reiterated at the hearing that the government would only hand out year-end bonuses to civil servants classified as disadvantaged or who have made major sacrifices for the country, because of the economic downturn this year.

He added that the bonus system would be reviewed every year.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) proposed that year-end bonuses be handed out to all civil servants, a proposal that stirred some debate.

KMT caucus whip Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that while the KMT supported the Cabinet’s version, Sun’s version would be proposed alongside the Cabinet’s proposal during inter-party negotiations.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has said that if the Cabinet does not hold its ground and hands out bonuses to all civil servants, the DPP would not rule out the possibility of staging a protest.