At its weekly meeting Thursday, the Cabinet approved a second special budget increase to further fund Taiwan's COVID-19 response program. The proposal was drafted by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics and will now go to the Legislative Yuan for review and debate.
Premier Su Tseng-chang said that a number of industries in Taiwan are still reeling under the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including certain manufacturing sectors, trade services, expo organizers and venues, and tourism and transportation companies catering to international visitors. In order to continue providing assistance to these industries and rapidly deploy preventative measures, this second special budget expansion calls for an additional NT$210 billion (US$7.1 billion) to fund expenses associated with disease prevention, relief packages, and economic stimulus, such as subsidies for workers' wages and business operations, and money for the research, development and purchase of vaccines.
In the three months since the submission of the first COVID-fighting special budget increase on April 23, over 12 million people have received relief and nearly 900,000 have been saved from unemployment, with special budget funding helping struggling business stay afloat, the premier said. As the outbreak has been brought under control, Taiwan has seen lower unemployment, higher stock market levels, fewer furloughed workers, rising economic growth rates and growing export orders. Primary drivers of these improvements are major programs launched earlier to promote industrial innovation and transformation and boost investment in Taiwan, complemented by recent relief and stimulus measures. These efforts have achieved the difficult yet enviable feat of maintaining Taiwan's overall economic stability amidst a world still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, the premier said.