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Cabinet proposes NT$440bn for defense – Taipei Times


FUTURE-PROOFING:
The Executive Yuan is considering increasing the budgets of the National Development Council and the National Science and Technology Council

  • By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Executive Yuan has proposed NT$440 billion (US$14.02 billion) for defense spending next year, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous year, a source said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The figure includes an additional NT$30 billion — for purchasing M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and M1A2T Abrams tanks, among other items — on top of policy-mandated defense spending of NT$400 billion, the source said.

The policy requires that annual defense spending not be lower than the average economic growth rate over the past three years.

Photo: I-hwa Cheng, Bloomberg

Adding the NT$49.27 billion in special budget funding for a program to enhance military capabilities, as well as NT$45.20 billion for acquiring new jets, to the total proposed budget expenditure, brings next year’s proposed military budget to NT$534.5 billion, a record high, the source said.

The Executive Yuan is expected to deliver its final version of the budget to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) early next month.

Tsai, who has been placing great emphasis on national defense spending, is expected to instruct the Cabinet to increase the budget, the source said.

The Executive Yuan is slated to pass a final version on Aug. 24 before forwarding it to the Legislative Yuan for approval, they added.

The source said that the nation’s total income for next year is expected to reach a record NT$2.7 trillion, growing 4.7 percent from this year, with tax revenue of NT$2.2 trillion.

Expenditures are expected to reach a record NT$2.88 trillion, up 6.7 percent from this year, they said.

Taiwan would run a deficit of NT$170 billion, they added.

The source said that the social welfare budget would likely increase 10 percent, or NT$77 billion, from last year’s NT$707.3 billion to NT$790 billion.

The majority of the funding, about NT$64.5 billion, would go toward the Laborer Insurance Fund, while NT$12.5 billion would go to a state subsidy program to help parents with newborns and children up to age 6.

The National Development Council asked for NT$207.3 billion and the National Science and Technology Council asked for NT$143.8 billion, while the Executive Yuan is considering increasing both agencies’ allotted funding by 10 percent over last year, the source said.

Most technology expenditures, an estimated NT$150 billion, would be used on developing zero emissions technologies for aerospace and next-generation communications networks, they said.

About NT$265 billion has been allocated for infrastructure, including NT$180 billion for construction projects and a special budget for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.

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