The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged the government to provide cash subsidies to help people cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, citing a survey that showed more than 50 percent of respondents supporting such a move.
The poll, commissioned by the KMT-affiliated National Policy Foundation from Monday to Wednesday last week, showed that 56.1 percent of respondents said that previous pandemic relief programs were not comprehensive and only benefited certain groups, while 30.5 percent disagreed, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei.
Asked if they support cash subsidies, 52 percent agreed that the government should immediately distribute NT$10,000 per person, while 41.6 percent disagreed, she said.
The Executive Yuan has proposed allocating NT$260 billion (US$9.36 billion) for its “Stimulus 4.0” COVID-19 relief program, which would provide financial assistance to 7.3 million people, or 31.06 percent of the population, she said.
However, this excludes independent workers, part-time employees and substitute teachers, among others, Wang said, adding that the government should be more in touch with the public instead of “making fancy calculations in the office.”
The Legislative Yuan is holding an extraordinary session to discuss the funding for the program and the voice of the public should be heard, Wang said.
A cash subsidy of NT$10,000 per person would account for only 1.2 percent of the nation’s GDP, and would be lower than subsidies offered by the US, Japan and Hong Kong, foundation vice president Huang Hsin-hua (黃心華) said.
Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said that the Stimulus 4.0 program has taken up the government’s available budget, and considering the nation’s overall financial health, the government does not plan to issue a cash subsidy for all citizens.
However, the Cabinet is evaluating other ways to alleviate people’s financial burden, such as whether to cancel the higher summer electricity rate or expanding the coverage of the relief program, Lo said.
The foundation commissioned Taiwan Real Survey Co to conduct the poll by telephone. It collected 1,080 valid responses, with a margin of error of 2.98 percent and a 95 percent confidence level.
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