Forward-looking infrastructure bill clears Legislature

  • Date: 2017-07-05
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

The special bill for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program passed its third and final reading at the Legislative Yuan today. The Executive Yuan thanks all members of the Legislature for their hard work and support during the bill’s review, adding that the development of major national infrastructure requires the full support of every political party and all sectors of Taiwan’s society.

The program, to be funded by a special budget, will in no way saddle future generations with debt, nor raise government debt beyond the levels permitted by law, Executive Yuan Spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung said.

In compliance with the Public Debt Act, the total debt issued for the central government’s general and special budgets during the special budget execution period may not exceed 15 percent of the government’s total general and special budgets for that period. Additionally, the program may not cause the central government’s incurred debt to exceed the debt ceiling, which is 40.6 percent of Taiwan’s average gross domestic product for the previous three fiscal years.

The lack of strength in Taiwan’s current infrastructure has been noted in international competitiveness reports compiled by the World Economic Forum and the International Institute for Management Development, Hsu said. To boost Taiwan’s competitiveness, the forward-looking infrastructure program will increase government investments in green energy, digital infrastructure, water environments, rail systems, and urban and rural development. These five plans will catalyze the advancement and transformation of Taiwan’s economy while investing in the future for the next generation.

Three supplemental plans have also been added—to establish child care friendly rooms in response to the low birth rate, improve food safety, and develop human resources and create jobs. Taken together, these eight plans will develop the type of infrastructure  that will take Taiwan a significant step forward in global competitiveness.

Forward-looking infrastructure is better built sooner than later, and the Executive Yuan certainly respects the Legislature in the legislation review process, Hsu said. The legislative intent of the infrastructure bill is to allow for a substantive implementation of national infrastructure projects, and the Executive Yuan had originally planned to divide the infrastructure budget into four stages to be submitted for legislative review and supervision. So substantively speaking, the infrastructure bill passed by the Legislature is consistent in intent with the version proposed by the Executive Yuan. The Executive Yuan thanks the Legislature for approving the program, now divided into two stages, each stage to have a four-year budget of NT$420 billion (US$13.8 billion) for a total budget of NT$840 billion (US$27.5 billion) over eight years. The Executive Yuan will carry out each infrastructure plan in accordance with these terms.

The special act governing forward-looking infrastructure development projects will serve as the legal basis for creating a special budget for infrastructure investments, every dollar of which will be spent wisely, Hsu said. The special budget will be officially submitted to the Legislature for approval and implemented accordingly. When completed, these projects will improve Taiwan’s infrastructure for years to come, raising the quality of life and enhancing the nation’s global competitiveness.