(Dec. 11, 2008) On November 24, 2008, Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Cabinet) approved two draft bills on the government's economic stimulus package. The estimated NT482.9 billion (about US$15 billion) program was divided between the two bills in an effort to gain fast-track legislative approval and smooth the process. Splitting up the legislation, according to Government Information Office Minister and Cabinet spokeswoman Vanessa Yea-ping Shih, “will help make sure the shopping voucher plan gets the Legislature's approval before the end of December, and our people get the vouchers before the Chinese New Year.” (Eric Chao, Financial Stimulus Package Set to Jolt Island's Economy, 25:47 TAIWAN JOURNAL (Nov. 28, 2008), available at http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/site/tj/ct.asp?CtNode=122&xItem=46454.)
Measures covered by the bills include the shopping vouchers, infrastructure projects, and incentives to boost private investment and encourage upgrading of industries, with the whole package to be carried out over the next four years. Under the shopping voucher program, consumers would be issued coupons – NT3,600 (about US$107)-worth per citizen – “that can be used as payment for goods and services at all registered retailers, wholesalers, and food and beverage establishments.” (Id.) Citizens are expected to receive the vouchers by January 19, 2009.
Infrastructure projects, earmarked at NT400 billion (about US$12 billion), would include expansion of metro systems, upgrades of railway lines, bridge rehabilitation, sewage system improvements, and classroom construction and renovation. Some NT400 million of the funds would be allocated for urban renewal throughout Taiwan. It is expected that the injection of funds will help attract over NT20 billion (roughly US$596 million) in private-sector investment.
As part of the plan to encourage investment, a package to promote the lease of industrial land would be extended into 2009; other incentives, such as interest subsidies to expand and launch small- and medium-sized enterprises, would be broadened and procurement in Taiwan by foreign investors would be encouraged.
In addition, the Cabinet requested ministries and relevant agencies to propose urgent public construction projects for funding consideration. The bill proposes financing such projects as the Taoyuan Aerotropolis by means of government-backed loans. According to Cabinet officials, “the large-scale loan project would be developed under the guidance of the premier to 'save the economy through loans.'” (Id.)