Lawmakers yesterday asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to conduct a comprehensive review of the transportation allowances it paid to executives of state-run firms run by the ministry, after a report from the Legislative Yuan’s Budget Center showed that some of them received hefty allowances just to attend board meetings taking place at the building in which they work.
The center examined the salaries and allowances of board members from 15 state-run corporations run by the ministry and found that several executives, who also serve as board members representing the ministry, have allegedly received significant transportation allowances.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp chairman Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗) last year received NT$176,000 in transportation allowances to attend board meetings, even though they were convened at the company’s headquarters in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港), the report said, adding that he also claimed NT$120,000 in transportation allowances in the first half of this year.
Taiwan International Ports Corp (TIPC) Taichung branch president Lu Chan-yu (盧展猷) also serves as the chairman of Taiwan International Windpower Training Corp, while TIPC executive vice president Wang Pai-feng (王派峰) also serves as the chairman of TIPC Marine Corp, the report said.
Both collected transportation allowances to attend board meetings for their second positions, with each claiming NT$51,000 from January to June, it said.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday promised to deliver a report within two weeks on how the ministry plans to address the situation.
“Regardless of the customary practices in the past governing the payment of transportation allowances or attendance fees for board meetings, we will examine what the rules are and see if it is necessary to set up a system for it,” Lin said.
“Transportation allowances should be allocated to executives legally and reasonably. Senior executives should not claim a cent of allowance if they should not receive it in the first place,” he said, adding that allowances should be paid on a case-by-case basis.
Chiang, who also attended the meeting at the legislature’s Transportation Committee, was asked to explain the matter.
He said that all his predecessors had claimed transportation allowances to attend board meetings and other meetings, and the relevant information is disclosed in annual financial statements.
Should the ministry implement new regulations governing the payment of transportation allowances, the high-speed rail operator would comply with them, he said.
In other news, Lin told the lawmakers that he is confident that travelers on the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No. 5) would not experience hours-long traffic congestion during the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which begins on Thursday.
The ministry’s plans to deal with likely traffic congestion during the long weekend came under scrutiny after it was criticized for its handling of traffic during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday in June, when travelers on the southbound lanes of the freeway had to endure an average driving speed of below 40kph for 32 consecutive hours.
“We have stipulated a plan to facilitate freeway traffic, but we have prepared ourselves for the worst-case scenario. We are confident we can control the traffic flow during the long weekend, but we need everyone’s help to do so, such as planning road trips based on updated traffic reports from the ministry’s Freeway 1968 and Highway to Happiness smartphone apps,” Lin said.
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