Premier Su Tseng-chang calls for 'swift passage' of Taiwan's epidemic response Bill

People wearing mask cross the street in Taipei, Taiwan on Feb 17, 2020. Under the proposed Bill, the Cabinet will allocate NT$60 billion (S$2.78 billion) for businesses and residents affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic.
People wearing mask cross the street in Taipei, Taiwan on Feb 17, 2020. Under the proposed Bill, the Cabinet will allocate NT$60 billion (S$2.78 billion) for businesses and residents affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Taiwan Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang asked Legislative Speaker You Si-kun on Tuesday (Feb 18) to "swiftly pass" a Bill to aid the nation through a time of crisis, three days before Parliament was set to reconvene.

Under the proposed Bill, the Cabinet will allocate NT$60 billion (S$2.78 billion) for businesses and residents affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic. "The Cabinet will submit the Bill to Parliament by Thursday," Mr Su said, requesting legislators to also approve it without haste.

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

More aid plans will be introduced once the budget is approved by Parliament.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will received the second-largest portion of the emergency fund at around NT$16 billion, part of which will go towards coupons to be used at restaurants, night markets and other commercial businesses.

Roughly NT$6 billion will be allocated to the Council of Agriculture (COA), Ms Kolas said.

Mr 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 will be apportioned.

Should the final budget go above NT$60 billion, it is possible to draw from next year's in advance, Ms Kolas said.

Taiwan has reported 22 cases of the Covid-19 virus, out of which two patients have been discharged from the hospital.

 

Globally, the virus has killed more than 1,800 people, infecting over 71,000 across 26 countries.