Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Wednesday announced a series of short-term measures to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, including offering tax breaks and cutting rents to help local businesses affected by the coronavirus.
According to Ko, businesses that have posted a 15 percent drop in monthly revenue from the same period of last year will be eligible to apply to postpone their tax payment deadlines by up to one year, while tenants of city government-owned properties will be given a 50 percent cut on their monthly rent from March to May, Ko said, adding that the policy could be extended should the pandemic continue.
The city government will also offer a 15 percent discount on water bills for local businesses operators and a 50 percent discount for hospitals and hotel owners that sign up with the city to become "quarantine hotels," to thank them for their help in combating the coronavirus, he continued.
The city is also offering preferential interest rates for those who need loans if they apply through Taipei Fubon Bank, in which the city government is the major shareholder, Ko said.
In addition, his government is lowering the housing tax and will also cut entertainment tax soon, with more details to be made public at a later date, the mayor said.
The measures are being implemented to help businesses in the capital to survive the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to serve as complementary measures with other relief measures announced by the central government, he added.
The central government on Tuesday had already announced a slew of relief measures to lower the impact of the pandemic on affected businesses and individuals around the country.