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Lawmakers call on government to monitor rising prices

Lawmakers call on government to monitor rising prices

Legislators on Friday called on the government to pay more attention to the rapidly rising prices for food and energy.
The state-run CPC Corporation, Taiwan announced that the prices of bottled gas and natural gas for consumers would rise on Friday.
The latest energy price hikes follow a report by the Consumers Foundation revealing that several key products recorded steep price increases between January 2010 and December 2011. The price of instant noodles went up by 16 percent during that period, eggs by 8.44 percent, flour by 6.33 percent, vegetable oils by 6.08 percent and hair shampoo by 5.89 percent, the foundation said.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Ou-po said that before the January 14 elections, gas prices had been frozen, but in the two months since the election they rose by NT$74 (US$2.51). Salad oil, instant noodles and eggs had also become more expensive while many people had not seen wage hikes and young people only made about NT$22,000 (US$747) to NT$25,000 (US$849) a month, Chen said.
The problem with young people was not that they didn’t have enough experience to find a good job, but that there were no good jobs to be found in the first place, he said. He called on the government to pay out subsidies for short-time work, raise unemployment payments, and re-evaluate the interim system.
People First Party lawmaker Thomas Lee said the government prided itself on an average salary rise of 3 percent over the past year, but questioned whether that was enough to cover the recent price increases. He also said the government should pay attention to the fact that 12.7 percent of people between 15 and 24 years of age were unable to find employment.
Kuomintang legislator Chen Pi-han said the problem of youth unemployment would grow even worse as more than 100,000 graduates from universities and colleges would join the work force just a couple of months from today. Other lawmakers added that other countries such as China and Singapore had designed programs to attract overseas students and graduates, which could cause Taiwan to lose talent while being unable to give jobs to the majority.
Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said Friday that there were no plans to raise water and electricity rates, despite media reports predicting hikes. Two separate committees were to discuss the rates and make their recommendations to the ministry, but they were still in the process of evaluating all the factors, Shih said. Even the schedules for the committee meetings had not been drawn up yet, he added.
The opposition has accused President Ma Ying-jeou of blocking price increases until he won reelection on January 14. The sudden outburst of price hikes would lead to an even more rapid increase of the gap between rich and poor, the opposition said. Ma promised he would deal with the problem through taxation and other reforms.


Updated : 2021-03-08 10:23 GMT+08:00