As the dispute over nuclear energy continues, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) yesterday said that a 10 percent rise in electricity rates would boost inflation by 0.359 percentage points and trim 0.13 percentage points off annual GDP growth.
However, when asked how much power rates would rise if the government abandons construction of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), the DGBAS could not provide specifics.
“We need various government agencies to provide related data” to be able to make an evaluation, DGBAS Minister Shih Su-mei (石素梅) said during a question-and-answer session at the legislature’s Finance Committee.
Lawmakers said that the agency should collect the necessary data and present a report within a month on the potential impact on electricity rates, consumer prices and economic growth should the government abandon the plant.
Nuclear power now accounts for 18.6 percent of the nation’s power consumption, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) said.
Sun said the public would have to pay more if it does not want the government to operate the plant.
However, KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) suspected the impact would be slight, as the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is only one of the nation’s nuclear power plants.
Meanwhile, at the legislature’s Economics Committee, Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said the agency would present a report assessing the impact of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant on the economy and industry within three months.
“The council will take a more pro-active role in providing the analysis, although we have never done such an assessment before,” Kuan said.
On Saturday, about 200,000 people marched through the streets of Taiwan, calling on the government to phase out the use of nuclear power, ahead of the two-year anniversary of Japan’s March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The nuclear power issue has recently grabbed the public’s attention, prompting Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) to announce on Feb. 25 that the government would hold a referendum on whether to continue construction of the the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said the council should provide the impact assessment before the referendum takes place, while KMT Legislator Lee Guei-min (李貴敏) said it should study whether there was a threat of power shortage if construction of the plant was halted, because the three existing nuclear power plants would terminate operations by 2025.
Asked about current economic conditions, Shih and Kuan said the economy was improving and there was a chance that companies would offer salary increases this year.
Shih said that GDP could grow by more than 3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, following annualized growth of 3.72 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
That would pave the way for a much-anticipated pay raise as the growth rate would meet the government’s target for the Council of Labor Affairs to raise the nation’s minimum monthly wage to NT$19,047 from NT$18,780.
The government said last year that it would increase the wage only after the nation posted GDP growth of more 3 percent for two consecutive quarters.
While the nation still has to carefully watch the European debt crisis, the brighter economic prospects this year may make a salary increase possible, Kuan said.
Last month, the DGBAS forecast that GDP would grow by 3.26 percent in the first quarter and that full-year growth would reach 3.59 percent.
More than 20,000 employees at Apple Inc supplier Foxconn Technology Group’s (富士康) huge Chinese plant, mostly new hires not yet working on production lines, have left, a Foxconn source familiar with the matter said yesterday. The departures from the world’s largest iPhone factory dealt a fresh blow to the Taiwanese company, which has been grappling with strict COVID-19 restrictions that have fueled worker discontent and disrupted production ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holiday. Concerns are mounting over Apple’s ability to deliver products for the busy holiday period as the worker unrest lingers at the Zhengzhou plant, which produces the
Two US Federal Reserve officials reinforced expectations the central bank would slow their pace of interest rate increases next month, even as they stressed the need to keep tightening. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said during separate remarks on Monday that inflation remains too high and policymakers have a way to go before completing their tightening campaign. However, they both characterized the need for officials to be judicious as they calibrate policy. “I think we can slow down from the 75 at the next meeting, I don’t have a problem with that,” Mester said during
‘SEASONED’: Chiang Shang-yi is to help guide Hon Hai’s global semiconductor development strategy as the firm accelerates the pace of capacity deployment Hon Hai Technology Group (鴻海科技集團) has hired former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) cochief operating officer Chiang Shang-yi (蔣尚義) as a strategy officer to assist its semiconductor business development, the group said yesterday. Chiang’s appointment took effect immediately. He is to report directly to Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉). Chiang was the central figure in TSMC’s technology advancement, and once considered a potential successor to TSMC founder and former chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀). He spent the past few years in China assisting Chinese chipmakers Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (中芯國際) and Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Corp (武漢弘芯半導體). Chiang on Oct. 18 attended a
’INHERENT VULNERABILITIES’: The country has been working with the US to build its own lithium and rare earth mines in a bid to curb China’s dominance in the market Australia is vowing more assertive scrutiny of foreign investments in key commodities tied to electric vehicles and clean energy, in a potential warning to China which dominates the market. Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has asked the country’s Treasury to work with the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and other stakeholders to undertake a review of foreign investment in sectors such as lithium and rare earths, he told a conference in Sydney yesterday. “We’ll need to be more assertive about encouraging investment that clearly aligns with our national interest in the longer term,” Chalmers said. Although Chalmers did not directly identify China investment as