CORONAVIRUS/NDC plans extra NT$210 billion budget for COVID-19 relief

05/27/2021 05:27 PM
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A one-time subsidy is planned for individuals such as farmers, fishermen, tour guides, taxi drivers and the self-employed. CNA photo May 27, 2021
A one-time subsidy is planned for individuals such as farmers, fishermen, tour guides, taxi drivers and the self-employed. CNA photo May 27, 2021

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) The National Development Council (NDC) detailed a plan on Thursday to allocate an additional NT$210 billion (US$7.13 billion) budget to the government's COVID-19 relief fund in the wake of the escalating community spread of the coronavirus in Taiwan.

NDC chief Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said at a press conference after a weekly Cabinet meeting that the budget is expected to go toward helping the hardest-hit individuals and industries, as well as providing additional loans to people in need.

For instance, a one-time subsidy ranging from NT$10,000-NT$30,000 is planned for individuals such as farmers, fishermen, tour guides, taxi drivers and the self-employed, Kung said, adding that people with low incomes could get NT$4,500.

For industries suffering significant economic impact, their employees could each get NT$20,000 in subsidies per month, he said.

The Central Bank will also offer additional loans of NT$100 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises, bringing the total to NT$400 billion, he said.

The NT$210 billion budget was introduced under a draft amendment to the Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens on May 13, which is pending legislative approval on May 31.

After the amendment clears the Legislature, the NDC's proposal will be reviewed by the Cabinet for its approval on June 3.

Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said the budget is designed as a bailout rather than an economic boost, so there are no plans for issuing consumption vouchers as was the case last year.

Once the pandemic slows down, however, it is possible that similar packages will be launched again, he added.

(By Lai Yu-chen and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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