《TAIPEI TIMES》New NT$210bn virus budget to be introduced
President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry meeting in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA
By Sean Lin / Staff reporter
The Executive Yuan in two weeks is to introduce a new special budget proposal with a ceiling of NT$210 billion （US$7.10 million） under the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery （嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例） to assist sectors hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pent-up demand has boosted retail sales, but the tourism and transportation industries are still suffering, due in part to borders remaining closed, Su told a Cabinet meeting in Taipei yesterday.
The government would allocate funds to where it is most needed, while continuing to fund the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines and testing kits, and subsidize people furloughed and companies’ operational costs, the premier said.
The Executive Yuan would announce a special budget request in two weeks and deliver it to the Legislative Yuan for review, he said.
Asked how the budget is progressing, Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming （丁怡銘） said that agencies have finalized proposals, and that Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming （朱澤民） is fine-tuning them.
The request would not be reviewed in time for the ongoing extraordinary legislative session, so the Executive Yuan would contact the whips of the legislative caucuses about a review and ask them to consider a second extraordinary session, Ting said.
In related news, the number of people registered to purchase paper Triple Stimulus Vouchers has far exceeded the government’s expectations, so the Executive Yuan plans to print an additional 2 million to 3 million sets of the vouchers, Ting said.
Statistics as of Wednesday night showed that more than 10 million people had preordered paper vouchers, he said.
The vouchers can also be claimed electronically when people link them to their credit card and use electronic payment methods.
Initially planning to issue 12 million sets, the government increased the number to 14 million, but now expects to issue about 17 million, he said.
“The materials for additional coupons have been set aside, so the printing can go ahead if needed,” he said, assuring people that there would be an adequate supply of vouchers.
Anticipating crowded post offices when the vouchers go on sale, the Executive Yuan yesterday said that people who did not preorder online would be required to make purchases on different days of the week, depending on whether their national identification card number ends with an even or odd number.
Promising that the government would launch another relief package soon, President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） told a meeting of Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry members in Taipei yesterday that the government would steadfastly stand behind the nation’s industries and support them with action.