The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment.
The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.
The NT$150 billion increase in the special budget is to be paid for by increasing national debt by NT$100 billion in the current fiscal year and NT$50 billion in the next, Chu said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The NT$700 billion in loans, double what was originally planned, is to be provided by the central bank and state-owned banks, as well as Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政), he said.
Overall, the package is to make up about 5.4 percent of this year’s nominal GDP, he said.
As a proactive measure to prevent the unemployment rate from soaring, the government is to inject NT$81.6 billion to help about 1.92 million people, or 16.6 percent of the nation’s working population, keep their jobs, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.
That includes NT$39.6 billion in wage subsidies that the Ministry of Economic Affairs would give to about 660,000 people in the manufacturing and service industries, as well as NT$8.4 billion that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is to give to about 140,000 people in the tourism and transportation industries, Kung said.
The transportation ministry plans to give the nation’s approximately 92,000 taxi and 16,000 tour bus drivers NT$10,000 per month for three months, while the economic ministry would issue a monthly subsidy of NT$10,000 to about 1 million self-employed people for three months, he said.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare is to spend an additional NT$12.7 billion to compensate people placed under quarantine, as well as to procure medical supplies and bail out medical facilities, he said.
The health ministry would be given NT$8.7 billion to cover a three-month NT$1,500 increase in the monthly subsidy to elderly people and children with disabilities, he said.
The MOTC would provide NT$50 billion in loans to six airlines, which have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s effects, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
The ministry would reach out to the six airlines to simplify the procedure for them to secure loans, Lin said, adding that the process is expected to be completed by the end of next week.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said that the budget for planned coupons to stimulate consumption when the pandemic situation improves has been increased to cover a 25 percent discount when people use mobile payments and discounts for elderly people who pay with smartcards.
The Ministry of Culture is to receive an additional NT$4.5 billion to help movie theaters and performance groups cover their overhead and payrolls.
Despite being allowed to maintain normal operations, as long as audiences do not exceed 100 people, many of them have reported situations “equivalent to shutting down,” Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) approved a draft amendment to the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例) to accommodate the increase in the special budget.
Su asked agencies to vigorously communicate with the four legislative caucuses to facilitate the swift passage of the amendment.
The government’s overarching goal is to keep “businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing,” he said.
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