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KMT, DPP offer different reconstruction budgets

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) The eventual scale of a budget put forward by the Executive Yuan to carry out reconstruction projects after Typhoon Morakot swept through Taiwan will be decided by the legislature, Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng said Wednesday.
Although the Executive Yuan has referred a special reconstruction bill worth NT$100 billion (US$3.03 billion) to the Legislative Yuan to seek its approval before it can start reconstruction tasks, Wang pointed out that the legislature, which is led by the Kuomingtang party (KMT) has the final say on the scale of the budget.
He made the remarks while answering questions from reporters on whether the Legislative Yuan will pass a budget of more than NT$100 billion.
The KMT Cabinet's version of the bill proposes a NT$100 billion budget to finance the special reconstruction bill, while an opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) version calls for double that amount or more and sets no upper limit.
According to Wang, five representatives from the KMT-led Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan and the KMT have exchanged views on reconstruction efforts and have reached a consensus that the scale of the budget could be increased depending on actual needs.
Commenting on whether the government should finance the reconstruction projects through public borrowing or by selling NT$40 billion worth of stocks of the state-owned Land Bank of Taiwan to manage the funds for the rehabilitation work, Wang said many legislators are against selling stocks.
The bank can earn a profit of NT$2.4 billion every year for the national coffers, but the Executive Yuan would only have to pay interest of NT$600 million to NT$700 million per year for any loans it takes out, he explained.
Representatives of the Land Bank of Taiwan's workers' union have demanded that Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der resign from his post to take responsibility for the government's idea of selling the profitable state-owned bank as a means of seeking funds for its post-typhoon rehabilitation projects.
They demanded that Lee step down for trying to sell the bank for a sum it could earn in less than four years.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Yuan had opened a special three-day session a day earlier to screen the special reconstruction bill, and hopes to approve the bill Thursday before the meeting ends so as to help victims of Typhoon Morakot rebuild their homes as quickly as possible.
The official death toll from Typhoon Morakot, which brought severe flooding and mudslides to southern Taiwan from August 7 to August 10, is currently at 461 dead with 192 still missing and 46 injured. Most of the victims came from aboriginal groups and were buried by a landslide in Siaolin village in Kaohsiung County.
Morakot also caused tens of billions of dollars worth of losses in the agricultural, livestock and aquaculture sectors, sending prices of vegetables, fruit, fish and meat soaring in Taiwan's retail markets.

Updated : 2021-05-07 02:31 GMT+08:00