Taiwan’s COVID-19 relief package could reach NT$1.05 trillion

TAIPEI (CNA) — The government plans to provide NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion) in two phases of an economic relief package to give emergency aid to businesses and individuals hit by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Wednesday.

The size of the package is expected to reach the NT$1.05 trillion figure after an estimated NT$150 billion is added to the package in the second phase, Tsai said in a speech on the government’s response measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first phase, the government has allocated a NT$60 billion special budget to help fund industries affected by the pandemic and to provide an additional NT$40 billion sourced from government budgets and funds, such as the Employment Security Fund and the Tourism Development Fund, toward emergency relief and economic stimulus measures, according to Tsai.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the emergency relief package also includes nearly NT$350 billion in loans for businesses, she added.

A special budget of NT$150 billion is expected to be added toward the relief package in the second phase, according to Tsai.

Her remarks came after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a legislative hearing Tuesday that the government’s response to the pandemic could reach as much as NT$1 trillion.

Asked about the source of the funds, Finance Minister Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) said Wednesday at a legislative session that the government’s fiscal position has been relatively stable over the past few years and will be able to respond to the pandemic.

The total amount of loans that government-owned banks and financial institutions can extend to businesses affected by COVID-19 is about NT$700 billion, according to Su.