Public in­vest­ment ‘may reach NT$100 bil.’

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY ENRU LIN

The Fi­nance Min­istry ( ) said it aims to ex­pe­dite the ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cess­ing of public in­vest­ment con­tracts, as well as to sign up to NT$100 bil­lion worth of projects by year’s end.

Amid months of ex­ports con­trac­tion and weak GDP growth, the Cen­tral Bank ( ) in Septem­ber an­nounced mon­e­tary poli­cies that in­cluded the first cut to its bench­mark in­ter­est rate since 2009.

Re­spond­ing to in­quiries on his min­istry’s re­sponse to the eco­nomic down­turn, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Chang Sheng-ford ( ) said the most ef­fec­tive stim­u­lus mea­sure in his ar­se­nal was ex­pand­ing public in­vest­ment.

As of Sept. 25, the min­istry has signed 87 in­vest­ments con­tracts for public projects with a to­tal value of NT$92.2 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to min­istry fig­ures.

In the 2015 fis­cal year, the Fi­nance Min­istry could sign up to NT$100 bil­lion in public in­vest­ment projects, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

There is lim­ited room for bring­ing in new con­tracts as the 2015 fis­cal year is near­ing its end, but Chang said that for the rest of the year the min­istry will ex­pe­dite progress on ex­ist­ing con­tracts.

The state has not yet be­gun cap­i­tal pay­ments on all ex­ist­ing con­tracts, Chang said, stress­ing that there is sig­nif­i­cant ad­min­is­tra­tive work be­tween the date of sign­ing and the first pay­ment.

Chang said he has asked the Cab­i­net to en­able ac­cel­er­ated progress on ex­ist­ing projects — in­clud­ing the more con­tro­ver­sial BOT (Build-Op­er­ate-Trans­fer) cases — for a faster in­jec­tion of state cap­i­tal into the do­mes­tic econ­omy.

In pre­vi­ous years, ac­tual paidin cap­i­tal per year has ranged be­tween NT$30 bil­lion and NT$34

bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry.

Stock Res­cue Un­til Jan. 16?

Also yesterday, the min­is­ter sec­onded the opin­ion of a leg­is­la­tor who urged con­tin­ued state sup­port of the lo­cal mar­ket un­til the Jan­uary gen­eral elec­tions.

For the first time in four years, the state-run emer­gency fund was au­tho­rized to act in Au­gust af­ter TAIEX plunged into a bear mar­ket amid fears of weak­en­ing Chi­nese de­mand.

Vice Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wu Tangchieh ( ) heads a com­mit­tee that man­ages the NT$500 bil­lion fund, which is set to meet in Octo- ber to eval­u­ate mar­ket con­di­tions and rule on a date for with­draw­ing state cap­i­tal.

At t he Leg­isla­tive Yuan, Kuom­intang (KMT) Leg­is­la­tor Lu Shiow-yen ( ) urged the Fi­nance Min­istry not to with­draw res­cue funds un­til af­ter the pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive elec­tion on Jan. 16.

The law­maker said the Cen­tral Bank’s re­duc­tion to its key in­ter­est rate sig­naled dire straits for Tai­wan’s econ­omy. In the sen­si­tive 100 days prior to a gen­eral elec­tion, the min­istry should not al­low the na­tional se­cu­rity fund to be­come a po­lar­iz­ing is­sue that trig­gers cross­party at­tacks, she said.

Chang replied in the af­fir­ma­tive. “What the leg­is­la­tor has rec­om­mended is very ap­pro­pri­ate,” he said.

No Dead­line for With­draw­ing

Emer­gency Funds

KMT Leg­is­la­tor Lai Shyh-bao ( ) asked the vice min­is­ter whether there was a dead­line for with­draw­ing the funds. Wu said there was no dead­line.

The Fi­nance Min­istry will rec­om­mend that the funds stay in the mar­ket for a longer time to bol­ster in­vestor con­fi­dence amid eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties at home and abroad, he said.

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