President vows to boost economy

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday pledged that the government will take effective measures to boost the nation’s economy, increase job opportunities and take better care of the underprivileged. Ma made the remarks at a meeting with a group of presidential advisers, apparently taking lessons from the serious setback the U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration suffered in the midterm elections. Ma cited a forecast issued by the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in August as saying that Taiwan’s economic growth will hit a 21-year high of 8.24 percent this year, and the unemployment rate will fall under 5 percent by the end of this year. The jobless rate already declined to 5.05 percent as of the end of September, he noted. Ma said that a legislative committee recently passed a motion to raise the officially defined poverty line to enable more impoverished people to become eligible for government subsidies, adding that over 850,000 people will benefit from the motion if it clears the legislative floor.

Earlier yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said the government will not feel complacent with what it has achieved and will definitely make all-out efforts to improve Taiwan’s economy and help nationals tackle many challenges lying ahead. Citing the results of a recent survey conducted by Global Views Monthly, Lo said the public approval rate for Ma improved in October from September, while his disapproval rate dropped in the same period.

“Taiwan’s fully fledged democracy and strategic position, along with its diligent people, are the advantages that can help the country to stand out globally,” he said. “The government does not fear being smeared and is poised to go ahead with its policies to break the isolation imposed by the previous Democratic Progressive Party government during its eight-year rule,” he added.

Prominent international rating agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the International Institute for Management Development gave Taiwan’s economy higher rankings in recent surveys, which Lo described as evidence of strong faith in Ma’s economic policies.