Taiwan ex-president suggests replacing stimulus coupons with cash

Ma Ying-jeou urges government to follow US and Japan's model of cash subsidy distributions

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Former President Ma Ying-jeou. 

Former President Ma Ying-jeou.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Monday (April 13) suggested that the ruling government follow the U.S. and Japan in distributing cash subsidies to the Taiwanese public instead of stimulus coupons.

In an effort to alleviate the financial burden felt by the country's industries due to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has planned on providing loans, loan extensions, subsidies on interest, as well as NT$2 billion (US$66.1 million) worth of coupons to boost consumption. The government said each Taiwanese would be able to use an NT$1000 (US$34) coupon after spending NT$4,000.

In a Facebook post, Ma stressed that the government should strongly consider replacing the coupons with cash, which he believed would be more effective in encouraging consumption. He pointed out that the U.S., Canadian, Korean, and Japanese governments had all decided to offer their citizens cash and allow it to be spent in any way they preferred.

Ma said the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had done a stellar job in containing the spread of the coronavirus and that distributing cash to its citizens would certainly raise its satisfaction rate. He added that the government should also introduce a larger budget of NT$100 billion for the subsidies instead of NT$2 billion, reported CNA.

Since it was published, the post has received great attention, with many internet users agreeing with Ma's suggestion. However, some netizens explained that replacing coupons with cash would actually be less effective, since some individuals would choose not to spend the NT$1,000 cash and save it in their bank accounts instead, according to Now News.