FA completes move to Kaohsiung

The China Post news staff

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — Around 100 staff members of the Fisheries Agency (FA) under the Council of Agriculture reported yesterday to their new office in Kaohsiung City, making the FA the first central government organization moving to southern Taiwan. The agency’s move from Taipei is part of the pledge of President Chen Shui-bian’s administration to move more government agencies to southern Taiwan, the power base of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. The move will incur an estimated initial cost of around NT$100 million, including renovation of the building, the moving of facilities and equipment, and a subsidy of NT$20,000 a month to each of the relocated employees.

The special subsidy, to be used mainly for renting new apartments in Kaohsiung or shuttling back home to Taipei, will last for a period of three years.

The new FA HQ is located in a building only a dozen meters from the Chiencheng fishing port. Premier Chang Chun-hsiung will personally preside a ceremony next Monday to mark the official move of the FA headquarters to Kaohsiung from Taipei and the fulfillment of a promise made by the government. Officials said the agency’s original office in Taipei will be maintained by a 50-member staff as the agency’s coordinating section with other government agencies under the Executive Yuan (Cabinet). The Taipei office premises will cost taxpayers around NT$14.4 million in rent each year. Senior officials at the Cabinet said it is worth the money because the new location enables the FA to better serve the people in the south, that accounts for 72 percent output of the nation’s fishery industry. The move will also help strike a balance in the economic development between the northern and southern sections of the island, they said. But instead of moving their families to Kaohsiung or shuttling between the two largest cities on the island, 24 staff members of the FA have resigned from their positions to search for other jobs in Taipei, giving more employment opportunities to people in Kaohsiung area. Some fishermen in Kaohsiung said they like the FA move to their area. They expect more efficient service from the public servants due to the proximity. Some others said they now don’t have to travel up to Taipei when they need to file appeals with the FA, or even stage some protests against certain government policies, as in the past.