The government budget for fiscal 2021 could see national defense spending increase to NT$335.8 billion (US$11.36 billion), up NT$10 billion, or 3 percent, from fiscal 2020, sources said on Friday.
If the NT$29 billion in special funding to purchase F-16 jets from the US were included, the increase in the national defense budget would be 7 percent, the sources said, adding that the military’s purchase of 66 F-16s is expected to cost NT$247.29 billion and be paid off in seven years.
The Ministry of National Defense is discussing with the Executive Yuan additional funding to purchase advanced weaponry, they said.
Photo: You Tai-lang, Taipei Times
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) next month is expected to present President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) with the final Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) estimate on the government’s fiscal 2021 budget, they said, adding that the final decision would be made pending a discussion between the two.
Equipment purchases, and maintenance and personnel fees comprise the main expenditures in the defense budget, although details cannot be divulged, an Executive Yuan source said.
An official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the increase in the defense budget would be within normal parameters, as an exponential increase would breach the Budget Act (預算法).
The public construction budget for fiscal 2021, including a second-phase infusion into the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, and other funds for state-owned enterprises and a non-profit businesses fund, is estimated to be NT$500 billion, a 10 percent rise from fiscal 2020, sources said.
Flagship projects include the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Circular Economy Industrial Park and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ third terminal project at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the sources said.
Research and development for technology might comprise 3 percent of public construction expenditure, they said.
Tax revenue for fiscal 2021, estimated at NT$2 trillion, down NT$100 billion from fiscal 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, might lead to a deficit, the DGBAS said.
In the event of a deficit, the government would have to take on debt, DGBAS Director-General Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) said.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the