The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) maintains that universal cash payments would be the “most effective” form of COVID-19 relief, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday, following news reports that government plans for another stimulus voucher program are in the works.
Since last month, the KMT has on multiple occasions urged the government to provide a universal relief payment of NT$10,000.
The Executive Yuan is in the middle of planning a COVID-19 stimulus program, with a meeting expected to be held this week to discuss the scheme, a report published yesterday by the Chinese-language United Daily News said.
The Executive Yuan intends to issue another round of stimulus vouchers this year, while the likelihood that it would make cash payments to all Taiwanese is relatively low, the report cited an anonymous government official as saying.
Asked to comment, Chiang said: “We have always believed that universal cash payments would be the most effective.”
“Besides, this year’s COVID-19 situation is completely different,” he said on the sidelines of an event organized by the KMT’s Taipei chapter to donate 1,000 boxes of food, masks and other supplies to people struggling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Unlike last year, Taiwan has been under a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert for two months and restaurants have been banned from offering dine-in services, he said.
Given the differences from last year’s situation, the government should not “copy and paste” its Triple Stimulus Voucher scheme to address this year’s situation, he said, warning of a potential public backlash if the government were to reintroduce the same program.
The Triple Stimulus Voucher program, which was launched in July last year, allowed people to purchase NT$3,000 worth of vouchers for NT$1,000, which they could use until Dec. 31 last year.
Earlier in the event yesterday, Chiang brought up his party’s proposal for universal cash relief payments, describing it as the “simplest, fastest and most effective” relief measure, which has proven effective in other countries.
Chiang also repeated his party’s calls for the government to impose a price freeze on fuel and electricity as part of COVID-19 relief.
Although the government last month suspended the implementation of higher summer electricity rates, which are applied annually from June to September, the KMT has urged the government to cancel this year’s seasonal rate increase altogether.
Many people are still struggling, despite a partial relaxation on Tuesday last week of COVID-19 restrictions, Chiang said.
The government should consider the public’s perspective, he added.
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