Cabinet approves central government's NT$2.2391 trillion budget bill

08/26/2021 05:20 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 26 (CNA) Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposed 2022 budget of NT$2.2391 trillion (US$80.14 billion) put forth by the central government, which focuses heavily on social welfare funding.

The NT$2.2391 trillion bill represents an annual 9 percent increase but will still leave a deficit of NT$23 billion, as central government spending is forecast to rise by about 5.9 percent in 2022, the Cabinet said.

Of the proposed NT$2.2621 trillion in spending, the largest portion will go to social welfare, with an allocation of NT$601.8 billion, or 26.6 percent of the total, according to the bill.

Education, cultural and science projects will consume 20.1 percent, national defense 15.7 percent, and economic development programs 11.5 percent, the budget proposal shows.

Following the Cabinet's approval of the budget plan put forth by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the bill is expected to be submitted to the Legislature by the end of the month for review and passage.

In the DGBAS's proposal, it said that the estimated NT$23 billion budget deficit and NT$96 billion in debt payments will be financed by a NT$50 billion surplus, which had accumulated over the past few fiscal years, and borrowing of NT$69 billion.

As a result of the NT$69 billion in borrowing and a special budget of NT$185.6 billion for emergency and other purposes, the central government's debt in 2022 will be NT$254.6 billion, the DGBAS said.

The national accumulated outstanding debt, meanwhile, will total NT$6.4197 trillion in 2022, down 0.9 percentage points from this year, accounting for 32 percent of the country's average nominal gross domestic product over the last three years, according to the DGBAS.

Also on Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) noted that no allocation was made in the 2022 budget proposals to increase the salaries of teachers, civil servants and military personnel.

However, Su said, he has given a directive to the DGBAS, the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA), and other relevant government agencies to review the matter so that the central government can lead the way for such employees to obtain a pay raise.

Also commenting on the issue, DGBAS head Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) said that while a salary increase for those categories of employees was not recommended by the DGPA's evaluation committee, it does not mean that a pay hike cannot be considered based on the premier's directive.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Lai Yu-chen and Evelyn Kao)

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