The first payments of the government’s latest COVID-19 relief funding were wired into residents’ bank accounts at midnight yesterday.
The Executive Yuan on Thursday announced that the relief funding program has been approved and would benefit 7.3 million people.
Farmers and fishers would receive NT$10,000 per applicant, while self-employed or independent workers who have paid up to NT$24,000 in insurance last year would receive NT30,000, the Executive Yuan said, adding that those who have paid more insurance would receive NT$10,000.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Taxi drivers would receive up to NT$30,000, while visually impaired massage parlor employees would receive up to NT$45,000, the highest relief payment to any group, it said.
Separately yesterday, the New Power Party (NPP) caucus held an online news conference, saying that the funding program should be improved.
NPP legislative caucus convener Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs should suspend the collection of rent from businesses that have closed due to a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert.
To help affected firms, the ministry has suspended rental payment collection from businesses in industrial parks, and processed goods and export zones.
Chiu said that Taiwan should follow the example of Germany, which last year introduced legislation barring lessors from suspending rental contracts in the case of defaulted payments due to COVID-19.
An amendment to the Civil Code, which allows for the termination of a rental contract after two subsequent defaulted monthly payments, should guarantee that Taiwanese do not lose their rented home amid the pandemic, Chiu said.
Electricity fees should be decreased, as people are required to spend more time at home during the level 3 alert, he said.
NPP Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said that relief funds for families should be expanded to include people of any age with a disability and elderly people.
NPP Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that businesses in the tourism industry should receive higher relief subsidies.
The property rental market should also be regulated more tightly to better reflect the needs of tenants, she said.
Part-time employees in the service sector should also receive subsidies, she said, adding that currently only those who work full-time in the sector benefit from the program.
Chiu said that firms that receive subsidies should be barred from laying off workers, while blue-collar workers should benefit more from relief programs.
NPP lawmakers would present their suggestions at an extraordinary legislative session next week, Chiu added.
The Democratic Progressive Party caucus has said that an extraordinary legislative session should be held within the next to weeks, focused on COVID-19 relief funding.
DPP caucus secretary-general Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) yesterday said that if cross-caucus negotiatons could agree on holding such a session starting on Monday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) would on Tuesday report to lawmakers on the Cabinet’s performance and answer their questions.
Legislative subcommittee meetings would be held from Wednesday to Friday, and lawmakers would in the following week discuss legislative amendments focused on pandemic relief packages, he said.
Additional reporting by Jason Pan
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