Lawmakers furious over state-owned firms’ hefty bonus

By Lee Yu-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Tue, Jan 01, 2013 - Page 3

Legislators across party lines lambasted state-owned enterprises over the weekend for awarding high annual performance bonuses when the companies were losing billions of New Taiwan dollars per year and called on the Executive Yuan to block the passage of the “unreasonable expenses.”

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) has criticized President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration for ignoring the billions of NT dollars in deficits racked up by CPC Corp, Taiwan, and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), while it continued to call for moderation of government expenses.

According to a Ministry of Economic Affairs report, CPC Corp is giving out 4.6 months in salaries to its workers as annual bonuses, while Taipower is giving out at most 3.65 months.

Defending their high bonus policies, the state-owned companies have claimed that their losses came from following government policies and putting this factor aside, they would have reported an income surplus, Pan said.

Pan said the ministry’s actions have also aroused the ire of members of the Control Yuan, which has stated its intention to impeach Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) and is issuing a call for the Executive Yuan to block the expenses.

DPP caucus secretary-general Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said that when the budget was being reviewed by the legislature, it was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that opposed the budget cuts proposed by the DPP.

The Ma administration should take responsibility for the results, because it is the administration that is covering the activities of the state-owned companies, Tsai said.

KMT Policy Committee chief Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said that state-owned firms’ insistence on paying out large bonuses while incurring huge losses was not defensible policy.

The Executive Yuan should take the utmost care in reviewing this item on the budget, Lin said.

KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the size of the bonus payout raised by the ministry was incredible.

It seems that state-owned companies are giving out higher bonuses for every dollar they are losing, but this only puts them in a very dim light from society’s perspective, Lo said, adding that the government should listen to the public and slash the bonuses.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) said that the staff at the state-owned firms should be ashamed of taking such high bonuses as their companies have done nothing but lose money.

Hsu said that when the legislature reviews state-owned companies’ budget in the next session, he would ask CPC and Taipower to give plausible reasons for giving out high year-end and performance bonuses or he would slash a big chunk of their budget.