CORONAVIRUS/Cabinet presents additional NT$210 billion budget for COVID-19 relief

07/23/2020 04:53 PM
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CNA photo July 23, 2020
CNA photo July 23, 2020

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday finalized a plan to allocate an additional NT$210 billion (US$7.13 billion) budget to the government's COVID-19 relief fund.

The move came after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in early July made a decision to expand the relief fund, with the global pandemic showing no sign of abating.

Pending legislative approval, NT$137.55 billion will go towards helping local businesses, such as providing subsidies and financial loan guarantees, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

Of the NT$210 billion budget, NT$37.36 billion will be disbursed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to fund the procurement of disease prevention supplies and the purchase, research and development of vaccines.

Another NT$19.11 billion will be allocated to the Council of Agriculture to provide loans for fishery and agriculture businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, the DGBAS said.

Meanwhile, a total of NT$9.78 billion will be disbursed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) in the form of subsidies to businesses in the aviation and real estate, as well as to tour guides in the hotel and travel industries.

In the breakdown, the Ministry of the Interior will be responsible for the disbursement of NT$640 million, the Ministry of Education for NT$640 million, the Ministry of Labor NT$4.71 billion, and the National Communications Commission NT$210 million, according to the DGBAS.

The Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens amended in April allowed the government to earmark a special budget of up to NT$210 billion to cover related measures, with the option of doubling that if necessary.

On Thursday, Legislative Yuan Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said the additional budget, dubbed "COVID-19 relief fund 3.0," is expected to be reviewed by the legislature sometime in mid-August.

(By Ku Chuan, Fan Cheng-hsiang and Ko Lin)

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