Inflation could cause Taiwan’s GDP growth to drop below 4 percent this year, or 0.4 percentage points than the government’s forecast, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-aligned National Policy Foundation said yesterday.
The party-affiliated think tank made the comment at a news conference that highlighted inflation and energy issues on the sixth anniversary of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration.
Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉), the think tank’s economic and fiscal policy convener, said that the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank’s interest rate hike and inflation would likely have a cooling effect on economic growth.
Photo courtesy of the National Policy Foundation
The consumer price index last month showed a year-on-year increase of 3.38 percent, while greater price increases were reported for some essential goods, he said.
The price of eggs soared 24.39 percent and the cost of restaurant meals increased 5.56 percent, he said, citing two examples.
The Tsai administration’s policy to eliminate nuclear energy by 2025 was not accompanied by a corresponding increase in renewable energy, which reported sluggish growth over the past five years, he said.
This has resulted in an unstable energy supply along with increased reliance on coal-fired power plants, which has triggered more frequent and longer power outages, he said.
Citing a poll the think tank released on Friday last week, Lin said that 62 percent of Taiwanese disapproved of Tsai’s handling of the economy, 60.6 percent said that large-scale blackouts would occur in the next two years and 53.8 percent said that the energy supply was unstable.
“The Democratic Progressive Party’s government’s [green energy] obsession is getting in the way of Taiwan’s economy and public health,” KMT Legislator Wu I-ding (吳怡玎) said.
The government did not have a clear path to a net zero emissions goal, despite the creation of programs the would cost an estimated NT$900 billion (US$30.35 billion) by 2030, she said.
Regarding the Environmental Protection Administration’s carbon tax scheme, Wu said that the tax rates were too low to have an effect on emissions, and that officials have erred in exempting the power generation sector from the tax.
The government should have worked on developing clean energy alternatives instead of shifting costs to energy consumers such as manufacturers and households, she said.
Additionally, the Tsai administration’s investment in solar energy and energy storage technologies has not led to results that are commensurate to costs, Wu said.
Taiwanese wages declined by 0.004 percent last year, and real wages have been stagnant since 2002, KMT Legislator Hsieh Yi-fong (謝衣鳳) said, citing Executive Yuan data.
The central bank’s decision to raise interest rates — coinciding with the shortening of mortgage payment periods from 40 years to 20 years — has significantly increased economic pressure on young people, she said.
The government’s rent subsidies also misfired, as officials failed to anticipate that the benefits would be claimed by landlords illegally subletting property and not by tenants, as intended, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on