The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday made a last-ditch effort to persuade the Executive Yuan to distribute NT$6,000 in cash per person instead of stimulus coupons as part of a government plan to revive the virus-hit economy.
Speaking at a news conference, KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) made a final appeal to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), saying that issuing cash would not only save the government NT$2 billion (US$66.77 million) from coupon printing and other fees, but would better meet the public’s needs.
Lin was referring to the stimulus coupon program, which Su is scheduled to announce today, in which Taiwanese, as well as foreign nationals and spouses who hold residency permits in Taiwan, can purchase NT$3,000 coupons for NT$1,000.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The coupons are to be issued in paper and electronic form.
Lin cited 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) as saying that the government still has a NT$210 billion fund available for use with the approval of the Legislative Yuan.
The KMT caucus suggests the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government tap into this quota to distribute cash of NT$6,000 per person instead, Lin said, adding that it would be the only proposal that the party would make for this provisional legislative session.
If the Executive Yuan accepts the proposal, the KMT would fully support relevant budget plans in the legislature, he added.
The DPP government should avoid the perils of holding power for too long and becoming increasingly alienated from public opinion, KMT caucus vice secretary-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said, adding that the stimulus coupon program is worse than former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) consumer vouchers.
The Ma administration in 2009 issued consumer vouchers of NT$3,600 per person in a bid to stimulate the economy in the wake of the global financial crisis.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was then the DPP chairperson, opposed the policy, saying that cash was better, Lin Yi-hua said.
A majority of governments around the world have chosen to transfer money directly to people’s accounts to stimulate the economy, but the Executive Yuan’s “chaotic” plan would require people to spend NT$1,000 before they can receive NT$3,000 of coupons, KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said.
The government should be open-minded and listen more to the public, who want cash, Yang added.
Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) said the government does not expect expenses for the stimulus coupon program to cost as much as NT$2 billion, estimating that it could go as low as NT$900 million, as about half of recipients are likely to opt for digital coupons.
Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu and Lin Liang-sheng
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