The government’s planned “stimulus coupons” would come in paper form as well as the originally proposed electronic version, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday.
The ministry in March proposed to issue coupons in a bid to boost consumer spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are taking a more diverse approach to the issue of coupons ... to make it as convenient as possible” for consumers, Shen told reporters prior to a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee.
“This means that the coupons would be distributed in paper and digital forms,” he said, adding that the coupons would also come in the form of discounts offered through mobile payment methods.
Asked if the coupons would be issued by the end of this month, Shen said that would depend on the Executive Yuan’s review of the plan this week.
“The second quarter is ideal for issuing the coupons ... the government can palliate a [potential] decline in exports by bolstering the local market,” National Central University economics professor Dachrahn Wu (吳大任) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
“We managed to achieve positive growth in GDP last quarter thanks to transferred orders as production in China shut down ... but our manufacturing sector is now facing dwindling market demand from Europe and the US, which make up more than 30 percent of global consumption,” Wu said.
This would have a heavy impact on local industries, Wu said, predicting a drop in export orders for this month.
“To stimulate spending locally, the coupons would have to resemble cash as much as possible,” he said, adding that there should be minimal restrictions on the usage of the coupons.
Wu also proposed setting an early expiration date on the coupons in a bid to maximize their effect on the economy.
“An ideal deadline would be August ... we cannot have people forgetting them or spending them next year, [as] that would be missing the point,” he said.
Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) vice president Wang Jiann-chyuan (王健全) proposed a more intricate plan for the coupons.
Wang on Sunday told the state-run Central News Agency that the coupons should be distributed based on levels of income.
Wang suggested that discounts for hotels and cultural events be offered to well-off people, while cash be distributed to financially disadvantaged people to maximize participation.
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