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Taiwan legislators approve new COVID relief package

NCC sees NT$500 million slashed from text message budget

Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (center) marks the passage of a new COVID relief budget 

Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (center) marks the passage of a new COVID relief budget  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Legislative Yuan on Friday (June 18) approved an extra NT$259 billion (US$9.33 billion) COVID-19 relief budget after slashing more than NT$500 million from the government proposal.

On June 3, the Cabinet proposed a special budget totaling NT$260 billion, which included subsidies for families with children and relief measures for businesses hit by the pandemic.

On the final day of the special session convened to discuss the measures, lawmakers removed NT$500 million from the NT$800 million originally destined for the National Communications Commission (NCC) to spend on a text message registration system, CNA reported.

The system allows visitors to shops, restaurants, and supermarkets to send a text message to the number "1922" to inform the health authorities of their whereabouts. While legislators approved the system, they questioned the need for the NCC to pay NT$800 million to telecom operators when the messages were free anyway.

During Friday’s voting, the Legislative Yuan rejected opposition Kuomintang (KMT) proposals to pay each citizen NT$10,000 in cash relief funding and to form a central government COVID compensation task force.

However, motions to pay the relatives of each coronavirus fatality NT$100,000 in funeral costs and to help tenants affected by the pandemic with subsidies found support across party lines and were approved.

Updated : 2021-09-17 11:16 GMT+08:00