CNFI calls for bailouts tailored to different stages of pandemic

Taipei,  The Taipei-based Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) released a white paper on Tuesday that called on the government to tailor its industrial bailouts, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to target short, medium and long-term policy goals, combined with rolling reviews to better help impacted businesses.

The nonprofit organization, which is made of 157 member associations from a wide range of manufacturing industries in Taiwan, published its 2020 White Paper with a three-point focus on pandemic control, bailouts, and saving the economy.

In the white paper, the CNFI said bailout plans should be subject to a rolling review to prevent the interruption of enterprise operations due to financial shortfalls, to avoid job losses, stimulate consumption and economic development.

The Federation also suggested bailout plans should not only help industries overcome immediate short-term challenges but also enable them to transform and meet future needs.

The CNFI urged the government to launch its Bailout 3.0 program as soon as possible. It has a NT$210 billion (US$7.14 billion) price tag and is mainly to assist pandemic-hit industries in the manufacturing sector overcome their immediate difficulties.

Taiwan’s government introduced its first two bailout programs totaling NT$210 billion in the form of special budgets in March and May. They mainly sought to lessen the financial impact on pandemic-hit companies and workers.

The Bailout 3.0 program still has to be passed by the Legislature.

However, the Legislative Yuan is currently in recess so the program is unlikely to be available until after September, when its second session of the year begins.

Bailout efforts are expected to be hit by the lack of funding as the budget allocated for the Bailout 2.0 program was spent in mid-July, the CNFI said.

At Tuesday’s press conference, CNFI Secretary-General Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生) called on the government to implement the Bailout 3.0 immediately.

While many service businesses, such as those in the tourism, travel, and catering sectors were shut down because of the pandemic early this year, the manufacturing industry, particularly factories that produce machinery and machine tools, as well as small and medium-enterprises, face greater impact in the second half of the year, Tsai said.

He also noted that the government has already spent more than planned in the Bailout 1.0 and 2.0 programs. In other words, some of the NT$210 billion special budget designated for Bailout 3.0 will be used to make up for shortfalls in the first two bailouts.

As such, Tsai expects the planned bailout for the manufacturing industry to have only about NT$80 billion left. “The money will be too little,” he said, and even so, the industry “cannot wait any longer.”

In its 2020 White Paper, the CNFI raised 67 issues and made 200 policy proposals divided into eight major areas, including industrial development, energy policy, taxation and financial policy, labor-management relations and manpower resources, international trade and economy, cross-strait policy, intellectual property rights and youth policy.

As the government works to strengthen national industrial competitiveness, it should also increase technology budgets, boost the development of local industry and encourage Taiwanese businesses with overseas operations to invest in local industrial clusters, Tsai said.

As for energy resources and energy supply stability, the CNFI suggested that the government readjust the energy mix in Taiwan between coal, natural gas, nuclear power and renewable energy, to ensure that power supply is stable and able to meet demand, Tsai said.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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