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NDC proposes extension of economic stimulus program

NDC proposes extension of economic stimulus program

An economic stimulus program that was introduced in Taiwan last November has used up less than half of the allocated funds and therefore should be extended beyond the Feb. 29 termination date, the head of the National Development Council (NDC) said Wednesday.

NSC head Lin Chu-chia (林祖嘉) said that since the launch of the short-term NT$5.088 billion (US$151.8 million) stimulus package on Nov. 7 last year, only 45.1 percent of the money has been spent and no additional funds will be put into the program.

Instead, it should be extended to June in light of the dull economic outlook in Taiwan for the first half of the year, he said.

Under the program, which was put forward last year by the NDC and approved by the Cabinet, consumers are offered subsidies for the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances and for domestic travel, as part of the government's efforts to boost Taiwan's flagging economy.

Subsidies are also provided to people who replace their 2G cell phones with 4G smartphones.

Meanwhile, Lin said, one of the factors affecting the economic outlook for the first half of the year is uncertainly over cross-Taiwan Strait issues.

He called for speedy processing of legislation to allow oversight of agreements between Taiwan and China, quick passage of a trade-in-services pact and completion of a trade-in-goods agreement between the two sides.

The new government, which will take office on May 20, should implement economic liberalization and upgrade industrial structures, he suggested.

Noting that Taiwan is heavily reliant on the foreign trade, Lin also said the new administration should continue Taiwan's efforts to join regional blocs, such as the U.S.-led Trans Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and to engage in free trade talks with individual countries.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Lilian Wu)

Updated : 2021-05-15 23:41 GMT+08:00