Cabinet OKs plans to boost economy
Pledge of NT$3.5 billion made to the Productivity 4.0 program
In an attempt to bolster the stagnating economy, the Cabinet yesterday gave the green light to a number of short-term proposals and pledged NT$3.5 billion for the Productivity 4.0 program to boost eight industries by the end of 2016.
The Productivity 4.0 program, originally set to commence next year, was moved forward by the Cabinet yesterday and will start in October. As President Ma Ying- jeou stated earlier this week, the eight industries targeted include electronics/information technology, metals, transportation, machinery, foodstuffs, textiles, distribution and agriculture.
According to a Cabinet official, it is expected that related ministries and the Cabinet will invest NT$2 billion and NT$1.5 billion into the program, respectively. Currently, the Cabinet says its goal is to “assist industry transition, acquire key expertise and self-sufficiency, foster industry talent and promote localized production through the 4.0 program.”
Taking a Bite from Tourism Business
Duh Tyzz-jiun ( ), minister of the National Development Council (NDC, ) and the central bank, in July proposed concentrating on three shortterm measures to improve the economy: upgrading industry sectors, expanding exports and encouraging investment, with an emphasis on local needs and the service sector.
However, Duh stated yesterday at the Cabinet meeting that the current forecast will likely not see an invigorated economy in the third quarter, but will probably make a positive turn in the fourth, as long as international markets improve as well. “Product exports are reliant on the foreign markets; it is hard to make a concrete evaluation now,” Duh explained.
The NDC minister went on to point out that as Taiwan’s product exports are restricted by developments and demands from the U.S., Europe and China, the country should aim to improve service sector exports by concentrating on tourists’ purchasing ability.
“In the future, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication will likely waive visa fees for high- end Southeast Asian tour groups,” and encourage overseas Taiwanese enterprises to provide “incentive travel” packages to Taiwan for their employees, Duh said. Increasing the tourist quota from 4,000 to 5,000 for China and 1,000 for the “Little Three Links” ( ) — a name for Taiwan’s outlying islands — will also be on the agenda.
Daily tax refund thresholds for tourists will be lowered to NT$2,000 from NT$3,000, Duh stated, with the likelihood of “electronic tax refund” methods being promoted as well. The NDC expects to see a revenue of NT$8.85 billion from the above tourism measures, which are expected to be implemented in the later half of this year.
Fiscal Policies from NDC
and Central Bank
Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ) stated that the NDC and central bank proposals included expansionary fiscal policies, such as a 10-percent increase in the budget targeting the technology industry. This will have a significant impact on the nation’s economic growth, he said.
Another measure suggested by the central bank was a loose monetary policy. Policies to assist small and medium-sized enterprises were offered up by the Ministry of Finance ( MOF) and the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). These measures are seen as optimistic strategies to improve the current gloomy economic forecast, Mao also said.
Additionally, to improve investments in Taiwan, Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (
) stated that the public infrastructure budgets be increased by 13.1 percent. Mao also approved the 2016 central government budget plans, provided by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), set to undergo examination in the next legislative session. In total, the 2016 budget plan saw a 3.3-percent growth.
Technology development saw a 4.9-percent increase in the total share of the budget, while spending on public infrastructure saw a 5.5-percent increase in share, compared to 2014’s budget plan.