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Premier Su expands relief for farmers, fishermen, uninsured workers

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At a press conference on the government's COVID-19 relief and stimulus efforts, Premier Su Tseng-chang on Monday updated the nation on the progress made so far in cash assistance disbursements, industry wage subsidies, loan relief measures, and reductions in interest rates, lease payments and taxes. He also announced expansions in assistance measures to cover more people affected by the pandemic.

The government has rolled out a three-pronged plan consisting of cash disbursements, loan assistance, and financial burden relief in order to help businesses and people in need. Even with these initiatives in place, there are still some who have been left out, the premier noted. To ensure benefits are distributed equally to all, the government will expand subsidies to uninsured workers, and agricultural and fishery production workers. Uninsured workers include street vendors, freelancers, and the like, who have jobs but are not covered by military, civil service, teachers, labor or farmers insurance schemes.

Agricultural and fishery production workers toil long hours every day to provide food for the nation, the premier continued. They perform society's most difficult jobs, work the hardest yet receive the least pay. While the government already provides subsidies for the agricultural and fishery industry, in reality some 1.4 million farmers and fishermen are still not covered. Excluding those above a certain wealth level, the expanded assistance measures will provide rapid cash assistance to these hard-working people.

Taiwan has won wide acclaim from the international community for its successful response against COVID-19, Premier Su said. The administration is pouring all possible resources into the effort, and ministries and agencies are working tirelessly with local governments as well as agricultural and fishery associations to ensure that people, businesses and industries can weather the coronavirus storm. After the disease is contained and stabilized in Taiwan, the government will move quickly into the economic stimulus phase of the response and launch an array of stimulus measures.

Having conquered the coronavirus in the first battle, Taiwan has become an oasis amid the chaos of the global pandemic. At this unsettling time for the world, Taiwan is in an enviable position, the premier said. He reassured the public that the government is hard at work on their behalf, and asked people to continue supporting one another through this difficult period.

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