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.
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