Cab­i­net OKs plans to boost econ­omy

Pledge of NT$3.5 bil­lion made to the Pro­duc­tiv­ity 4.0 pro­gram

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

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.

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