Taipei, May 13 (CNA) The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on Friday expressed opposition to reconstituting Changhua County as a special municipality, in part due to the region's declining population.
In a press statement issued after a committee review meeting, the MOI said it would advise the Cabinet against upgrading Changhua County to special municipality status because there had been a gradual downtrend in the region's population.
As of April 2022, the number of people residing in the county had fallen below the 1.25 million required by the current law for a region to be eligible for an upgrade, the statement said.
In addition, there is still room for improvements in the county government's efforts to develop the region, the statement said, without elaborating.
According to Article 4 of the Local Government Act, only a region with a population of 1.25 million and above that has "special needs for political, economic, cultural, and metropolitan developments" can be reconstituted as a special municipality.
Any proposal for an upgrade to special municipality status must be reviewed by the MOI, which will then submit its recommendation to the Cabinet for final approval.
The review committee, headed by Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), comprised senior officials from different government agencies, as well as scholars and experts, the MOI said in its statement.
There are currently six special municipalities in Taiwan -- Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung -- which together account for nearly 70 percent of Taiwan's 2.35 million population, according to government data.
Special municipalities are entitled to a larger share of budgets drawn from the central government's tax revenues compared to counties and county-level cities.