Budget office: Infrastructure plan can be debt-financed

President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration has proposed an eight-year NT$890 billion (US$29.4 billion) infrastructure plan. The project focuses on five areas, including green energy, water management, transportation, digital development, as well as urban and rural development.

The government is proposing that the budget be paid for with debt financing. In a report at the legislature on Monday, the government budget office said that there is still room within the nation’s debt ceiling to allow for further debt financing.

The budget office said the government’s outstanding debt this year was equivalent to 33.1% of the average GDP of the last three years. That’s 7.5% below the debt ceiling of 40.6%. The government says that means it still can use NT$1.2 trillion to finance the project.

The government budgeting office also responded to concerns that the infrastructure budget would be in violation of article 23 of the Budget Act. That article stipulates that the government must balance revenues and expenditures.

The office said that because the budget is for a medium-to-long term infrastructure project, it is considered a capital expenditure. Therefore, the government is not bound by article 23 to ensure that the revenues and expenditures are balanced.

The government says the infrastructure plan will create between 40-50,000 job opportunities and boost the economy. It’s hoping the legislature will approve the project in late May, so it can begin in August.

Source: Radio Taiwan International