Over 10 million eligible residents in Taiwan claimed spending vouchers worth NT$5,000 (US$179) in physical or digital form in the first two days since the vouchers became available, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said (MOEA) Saturday.
Data released by the MOEA showed about 10.63 million people had claimed their vouchers as of 3 p.m. Saturday, which includes almost 6.6 million residents who received physical vouchers.
The latest tally was up from 8.98 million residents who claimed the vouchers on Friday when 4.92 million claimed physical vouchers.
The Cabinet decided to issue the vouchers in an effort to boost private consumption after a surge in domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases in mid-May dampened consumers' willingness to spend.
The drop in spending has taken a toll on the local domestic demand oriented service sector with many lodging operators and food/beverage vendors placing workers on furlough programs.
As the surge in COVID-19 cases has since been brought under control, the Cabinet expects the vouchers to encourage spending and strengthen the service sector.
The vouchers are expected to create about NT$200 billion in economic benefits, according to the Cabinet,
In addition to the NT$5,000 vouchers, several government agencies such as the MOEA, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Hakka Affairs Council, the Ministry of Education and the National Development Council have issued their own vouchers of various values to further boost spending.
Since Friday, voucher recipients have been allowed to use the cash alternative in shops, restaurants and food vendors around Taiwan and can do so until April 30, 2022.
In the first round, physical vouchers can be claimed until Oct. 21 after eligible recipients signed up for the vouchers at convenience stores, cosmetics shops and supermarkets from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
The second round for recipients to claim physical vouchers will run from Nov. 8-21 after individuals register from Oct. 25-31.
Eligible recipients are also allowed to sign up in post offices around the country to get their vouchers.
As for digital versions of the vouchers, online registration started on Sept. 22 and will continue until April 30, 2022. The use of digital vouchers also started on Friday and will continue until April 30.
In July 2020, the government issued vouchers worth NT$3,000, but individuals were required to pay NT$1,000 to receive the vouchers and they expired on Dec. 31 that year. This time, no upfront payment is required.
According to the MOEA, 23.32 million people, or 98.35 percent of those eligible collected the vouchers the first round, leading to spending of nearly NT$64.48 billion.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel