Taiwan legislature passes NT$2.1 trillion 2020 budget

10 percent of budget for launch of new electronic identification card has been frozen

Legislative Yuan Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (right).

Legislative Yuan Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Legislative Yuan on Monday (Jan. 20) approved the government’s 2020 budget of about NT$2.1 trillion (US$70 billion) in its final interim session.

After cutting proposed expenditure of NT$24.6 billion, the total government budget for 2020 approved by the legislature is about NT$2.1 trillion. The percentage of the budget reduction is 1.17 percent.

Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗), convener of the opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT) legislative caucus, said the party had agreed to the passage of the budget. Tseng, however, noted the budget allocated for policy promotions, such as disease prevention or illegal drug use warnings, must not be utilized by the government to build “cyber armies” — despite not providing evidence of any agencies doing so.

The KMT proposed to either reduce or freeze budgets for the Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee and Transitional Justice Commission, both of which were established to handle wrongdoings committed by the KMT during the martial law era. However, its attempts failed due to a lack of votes.

Tseng said afterward the two agencies should act according to law and remain independent from the government body.

The Legislative Yuan started its annual budget review on Jan. 14. It was finalized Monday following several sessions of negotiations, with a number of cases being put to the vote.

In particular, 10 percent of the budget for the launch of the new electronic identification card (eID) has been frozen – about NT$42 million. The Ministry of the Interior is required to provide a report to the legislature before the latter decides whether to give the spending a green light.

Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), a ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said the approval of the government budget showed the legislature had fulfilled its responsibility.