The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) announced yesterday that Taiwan's economy in the first quarter grew 1.54 percent, far less than the 3.26 percent estimated in February. Premier Jiang Yi-huah and top finance and economic officials called it a warning sign that the government must redouble its efforts to invigorate the economy.
The DGBAS attributed the disappointing performance to sluggish export growth in a struggling global economy as well as weak domestic consumption.
At today's Cabinet meeting, the premier said that the most important tasks on hand are promoting exports and stimulating internal demand. To push exports, the government must respond swiftly to changes in the international environment, help manufacturers sell their products abroad and tap into emerging markets.
To lift consumer confidence, Jiang continued, agencies must spur domestic demand by speeding up implementation of major policies including the Economic Power-Up Plan, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis, free economic pilot zones, and programs to attract overseas Taiwanese investments. Additionally, government infrastructure projects that have received budget approval should be contracted out and started quickly to catalyze economic growth.
The premier noted that international organizations are predicting an upturn and gradual improvement in the global economy for the latter half of the year. Taiwan's economy is more susceptible to external changes, however, and being overly optimistic about the domestic situation would also be unwise.
The premier asked all agencies to work in concert to aggressively implement the major economic policies and programs. As for short-term approaches for boosting economic development and consumer confidence, these measures will be formulated and announced by economic and finance officials in a few weeks' time.