Cabinet details allocation of NT$150 billion COVID-19 relief fund

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Cabinet on Thursday allocated the bulk of a special NT$150 billion (US$4.98 billion) budget to revitalizing the domestic economy, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Pending legislative approval, NT$133.5 billion will go towards helping with the recovery of local businesses and other entities and providing relief to self-employed workers, according to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The remaining NT$16.5 billion will be used to help fund the country’s health response and recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGBAS said.

Under the NT$133.5 billion allocated for economic stimulus, NT$77.44 billion will be disbursed to manufacturers and businesses that are struggling to stay afloat during the health crisis, the DGBAS said.

Another NT$2.35 billion in subsidies will be allocated to community colleges and other educational institutions to help with their operating costs, the DGBAS said.

Meanwhile, a total of NT$31.02 billion will be disbursed by the Ministry of Labor to provide subsidized loans to workers and supplement the living expenses of the self-employed and those who do not have fixed employment.

The disbursement of funds allocated to the various sectors under the special bailout plan will be handled by the relevant government ministries and agencies, the DGBAS said.

In the breakdown, the Ministry of the Interior will be responsible for the disbursement of NT$370 million, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for NT$13.13 billion, the Council of Agriculture NT$1.98 billion, the Ministry of Health and Welfare NT$19.83 billion, the Ministry of Culture NT$3.22 billion, the Ministry of Finance NT$500 million, and the National Communications Commission NT$160 million, according to the DGBAS.

To deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic, the Legislature in February passed the Special Act for the Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia, which initially allowed the government to earmark a special budget of up to NT$60 billion to cover the related measures.

With COVID-19 showing no signs of abating, the Legislature on Tuesday passed an amendment to the special act to raise the ceiling of the special budget to NT$210 billion, with the option of doubling that if necessary.