Taiwan to release coupons to help businesses dented by virus

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-Hua (王美花) speaks at a press briefing on Feb. 13, 2020. (CNA)
Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-Hua (王美花) speaks at a press briefing on Feb. 13, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Taiwan’s Cabinet plans to offer discounts to customers who spend at night markets and restaurants to encourage consumer activities but details are still vague.

The word “coupon” dominated business and social headlines in the past couple of days after Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) made promises to stimulate market activities and support businesses affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-Hua (王美花) was unable to provide details on how much budget would be allocated for said coupons, who can use them, how to use them, and which types of stores would take them.

“These coupons will be released once we received instructions from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心),” Wang said.

The coupons are just part of a larger plan to allocate NT$60 billion (US$1.9 billion) to support businesses affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic, including the tourism industry, the agriculture industry and others.

Approximately one third of the emergency budget will go to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部), under which the tourism bureau has been hit hard, Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA, 經濟部) will receive the second largest portion of the emergency fund at around NT$16 billion (US$533 million), followed by roughly NT$6 billion (US$19 million) for the Council of Agriculture (COA, 農委會).

Su has approved the appropriations for the aforementioned agencies, she said, but further discussions are required for details and how the remaining NT$18 billion (US$599 million) will be apportioned.

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