Cabinet approves government’s 2018 budget

Taipei--The Cabinet has approved the government's 2018 budget proposal, which shows expenditure of NT$1.985 trillion (US$65.49 billion) and revenue of NT$1.8904 trillion, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???) said Thursday.

High on the government's agenda will be its Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, which will be funded by a special allocation of NT$108.9 billion, Hsu said, citing Premier Lin Chuan's (??) remarks in a weekly Cabinet meeting.

Other areas of priority will be construction of public projects, industrial innovation, drug abuse prevention, food safety, education, and social welfare, Hsu said.

Of the NT$1.985 trillion expenditure allocation, NT$490.2 billion, or 24.7 percent of the total, will go toward social welfare programs; NT$402 billion to education, science and culture; NT$320 billion to national defense; NT$245.4 billion to economic development; and NT$188.7 billion to general administration, said Chu Tzer-ming (???), head of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Chu said NT$3.82 billion will be allocated to implementation of the government's New Southbound Policy, an annual increase of 97.6 percent, while NT$379.1 billion will go toward public construction projects, the highest amount since 2012.

Other spending will include NT$3.26 billion for drug prevention, NT$4.9 billion for food safety and NT$1.6 billion for long-term care programs, according to Chu.

In the budget proposal, the government revenue of NT$1.8904 trillion shows a 2.7 percent annual increase, while its expenditure is estimated to grow by an annual 0.6 percent, noted Chu.

The budget deficit in 2018 will be NT$94.6 billion, while government debt will amount to NT$79 billion, he said, adding that the total shortfall of NT$173.6 billion will be financed by government borrowing.

The Cabinet's budget proposal will be referred to the Legislature for review.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel