MOEA chief says 2 percent growth 'reasonable goal'

In wake of poll that gave Yiin a low approval rating, minister said he would work harder

Economic Affairs Minister Yiin Chii-ming said yesterday that he thinks economic growth of more than 2 percent in 2009 is a "reasonable goal to pursue.

Economic Affairs Minister Yiin Chii-ming said yesterday that he thinks economic growth of more than 2 percent in 2009 is a "reasonable goal to pursue.

Economic Affairs Minister Yiin Chii-ming said yesterday that he thinks economic growth of more than 2 percent in 2009 is a "reasonable goal to pursue."
Yiin noted at a year-end news conference that the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics and the International Monetary Fund have predicted Taiwan's economic growth for 2009 at 2.12 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.
The forecast came as Global Insight, a leading international economic forecaster, recently predicted that Taiwan would perform the worst economically among the four Asian Tigers (also including Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea) in 2009.
Yiin contended, however, that the government put in place a series of measures in the second half of 2008 to stimulate the economy, the benefits of which will gradually become apparent in the third and fourth quarters.
"Although the first and second quarters will be hard, the economy will turn for the better afterwards," he said. He also said the Executive Yuan has set the goal of approving NT$1 trillion worth of major private investment projects in 2009, including the fifth-stage expansion project of the Formosa Plastics Group's sixth naphtha factory.
With the world facing weak investment demand, Yiin said he intends to "expedite and strengthen" major investment projects.
Meanwhile, the minister said he would work harder in the future in the wake of a recent poll that gave him the lowest approval ratings of any top government financial or economic official.
Responding to the result of a poll conducted by local daily The China Times, Yiin said, "The low poll numbers were a foregone conclusion because everybody is having trouble making ends meet."
He also defended himself, however, saying he had overseen a number of key initiatives since assuming his post May 20, citing the return of flexible fuel and electricity pricing mechanisms to reflect commodity price fluctuations, the easing of the cap on the investments of Taiwanese enterprises in China, the new "Cheng He" plan to stimulate exports to emerging markets, and assistance in financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Despite the general dissatisfaction with the performance of the government's financial and economic chiefs reflected in the poll, a government spokesman said the Cabinet "has no plan for a major reshuffle of the Cabinet now."