Cabinet passes special budget for first term of infrastructure program

  • Date: 2017-07-11
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The Cabinet today passed the central government’s special budget for the first term (2017-2018) of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. The budget, drafted by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), will be sent to the Legislature for deliberation.

To reinforce fiscal discipline, the special budget will be subject to the Public Debt Act’s provisions, limiting how much the government may borrow to fund the infrastructure projects. The premier hopes these special budget restrictions, which will be applied for the first time, will set an example for ensuring the nation’s fiscal health. The program will be executed entirely in accordance with the special act governing forward-looking infrastructure projects passed July 5 by the Legislature, as well as other fiscal laws and regulations.

Every dollar of the nation’s hard-earned resources must be spent wisely, the premier said, directing government ministers to personally oversee the projects within their remit, from the initial feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments to the actual implementation. As for projects where local governments compete for funding, the central agencies should set clear, reasonable and objective standards of review, and conduct the reviews as openly and transparently as possible to fulfill the objectives set by the special budget.

The DGBAS said the forward-looking infrastructure program will initially span a period of four years with a budget of up to NT$420 billion (US$13.7 billion). After this first stage, the Executive Yuan may seek the Legislature’s approval to extend the program to a second stage, with a budget and period not to exceed those of the first stage. The second stage will also be funded by a special budget to be formulated and reviewed separately.

To maximize the benefits of the overall infrastructure program, the four-year budget will be divided into three terms spanning five calendar years (first term to run from September 2017 to December 2018, second term from January to December of 2019, and third term from January 2020 to August 2021). The program will also be reviewed on a rolling basis after each term and adjusted as necessary, the DGBAS said.

The budget for the first term was compiled by the DGBAS based on the preliminary reviews of public works programs and technological development programs conducted from June to July by the National Development Council and the Executive Yuan’s Office of Science and Technology. Budget details and contents are described below.

A. Expenditures for the first term will total NT$108.9 billion (US$3.56 billion):

1. NT$17 billion for railway projects: integrating conventional and high-speed railway systems, upgrading the conventional rail system and improving services in eastern Taiwan, moving railroad tracks above or underground and speeding up commuter services, promoting mass rapid transit in cities, and developing train tourism in central and southern Taiwan.

2. NT$25.7 billion for water-related infrastructure: promoting water and development, water and safety, and water and environment projects.

3. NT$8.1 billion for green energy projects: promoting comprehensive green energy technologies and infrastructure, the Shalun Green Energy Science City, certification of advanced technologies, and a green energy financing system.

4. NT$16.2 billion for digital development: building cybersecurity infrastructure, ensuring broadband access as a basic human right, encouraging digitalization of cultural and creativity industries, building open government and providing smart urban and rural services, and creating a next-generation environment for scientific research and smart learning.

5. NT$35.4 billion for urban and rural infrastructure: improving vehicle parking issues, enhancing road quality, revitalizing municipal areas, building locally oriented industrial parks, developing cultural lifestyle circles, promoting community access to school campus resources, setting up public service centers, creating environments for sports and leisure, developing a “Hakka Romantic Avenue” along Provincial Highway 3, and empowering indigenous communities.

6. NT$2 billion for addressing the nation’s low birth rate and building child-care friendly spaces.

7. NT$300 million for food safety programs and measures.

8. NT$4.2 billion for human resources development and job creation programs.

B. The above projects will require funding of NT$108.9 billion (NT$16.1 billion for 2017 and NT$92.8 for 2018), all of which will be financed through issuing debt.