TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new voucher scheme intended to invigorate Taiwan’s COVID-battered economy could be launched in the near future, reports said.
The program was originally said to be planned for October at the earliest, but a Cabinet official has hinted at a more imminent roll-out once the pandemic situation has been checked and the public feels safe enough to venture out to dine and shop, reported UDN.
The source of funding will be the remaining NT$160 billion (US$5.7 billion) of the bailout budget set aside for the health crisis, according to the official. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) noted last week that the measure is meant to aid the food service industry, which is struggling amid the coronavirus restrictions, as well as retail, recreational, and cultural businesses.
The move is buoyed by what has been hailed as the success of the Triple Stimulus Voucher scheme, implemented last year in the wake of the pandemic. Available both in physical and digital versions, the vouchers, issued on the back of an approved NT$51.1 billion special budget, contributed NT$100 billion to the country's GDP in 2020, according to National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫).
Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has called for a greater focus on bailing out brick-and-mortar businesses such as night market stalls, which have taken a hit since COVID cases surged in mid-May, wrote the Liberty Times. Any vouchers that are equivalent to cash would benefit these businesses, he reckoned.
Last year, nearly 70% of eligible residents opted for paper certificates, with 30% favoring the digital format.