At Thursday's Cabinet meeting, Premier Chen Chien-jen received briefings on the current implementation results of the government's special budget to boost economic and social resilience and share the proceeds of growth in the post-pandemic era. The premier thanked the relevant ministries and agencies for their hard work, which he said has achieved initial successes across a number of areas.
These early results include the implementation of a one-off cash payment for every person of NT$6,000 (US$195) to share the proceeds of economic growth, assisting the transformation and upgrade of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), promoting use of public transport, stimulating the domestic tourism industry, strengthening the nation's agricultural resilience, caring for vulnerable groups, revitalizing arts and cultural industries and lightening the financial burdens of students.
The premier said that the one-off cash payment has already achieved 94% uptake and thanked the Ministry of Finance for leading the initiative and employing smart technology to distribute the payments, which he said aptly demonstrates Taiwan's credentials as a successful digital nation. He also directed the Ministry of Economic Affairs to fully implement its plan to transition SMEs to digital and low-carbon business models so that they can realize the benefits.
The premier also highlighted the initiative by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to promote the use of public transport. A new range of discounted monthly commuter tickets are about to go on sale, which the premier hopes will encourage more people to use public transport, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, pollution and traffic congestion. Another MOTC tourism initiative aims to attract 6 million visits by foreign tourists to Taiwan this year, and is on track to achieve this goal ahead of schedule.
The premier said that—in the face of challenges such as climate change, avian influenza and the COVID-19 pandemic—the Council of Agriculture has been promoting several measures to strengthen agricultural resilience and is continuing to advance sustainable development in the areas of environment, society and economy, which will help to upgrade Taiwanese agriculture and stabilize commodity prices for the public.
The premier expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for utilizing the special budget to ensure that vulnerable populations receive the care they require.
The premier hopes to see stronger publicity and implementation of the Ministry of the Interior's program to provide personal housing loan support for households of middle-class incomes and below, as well as the central government's NT$30 billion (US$975.3 million) expanded rent subsidy program, which will soon reopen for applications.
The premier praised the Ministry of Culture's program to grant free vouchers to 18-to-21-year-olds for spending on arts and cultural activities and products. He said the initiative will not only foster appreciation for the humanities by inspiring young people to visit bookstores or join cultural events, but will also help revitalize artistic, cultural and creative industries in Taiwan.
Finally, the premier thanked the Ministry of Education for its efforts in lightening the financial burden of student loan borrowers, giving every student an equal opportunity for education and enabling Taiwan to foster the finest talent.