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Executive Yuan approves fourth increase to COVID relief special budget

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The Executive Yuan on Thursday approved a draft proposal by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics to increase the central government's special budget for COVID-19 relief for a fourth time. The proposal will be sent to the Legislature for deliberation.

Premier Su Tseng-chang said this year's outbreaks have been more severe compared with 2020 and have had a significant impact on domestic demand industries. To protect the livelihoods of affected businesses and workers, the government—in accordance with the Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens—is seeking to raise the relief special budget by NT$160 billion (US$5.8 billion).

Of this amount, NT$127.3 billion (US$4.6 billion) would be devoted to economic stimulus, which will take the form of the "quintuple stimulus voucher" program along with complementary measures by government agencies to give consumers bonus benefits for using the vouchers. It is hoped the vouchers program will quickly spur consumption and bring a boost to the domestic demand market in a way that would not raise COVID risks, the premier said.

Another NT$18.9 billion (US$681.2 million) would be budgeted to defending against the virus, specifically to enhancing testing capabilities, establishing community testing centers, administering vaccines, purchasing medicines, and treating patients in isolation, among other efforts. Finally, NT$13.8 billion (US$497.4 million) would be allocated to organize relief measures for business and individuals heavily impacted by the epidemic.

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