March 29, 2023

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Taiwan offers cash payments to citizens in ‘new year’s blessing’

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang announced Wednesday that Taiwan plans to offer cash payments of nearly $200 to every citizen this year, saying the island’s economic growth will be shared by all.

The export-driven economy, a global technology powerhouse for products including semiconductor chips, grew 6.45% in 2021, the fastest rate since its 10.25% expansion in 2010.

While economic growth is expected to slow in 2022 and 2023, the government has laid out plans to plow an additional NT$380 billion (US$12.4 billion) in tax revenue from last year into the economy to help protect the island from global economic shocks, including it subsidies. For electricity, labor and health insurance rates.

Su said a total of NT$140 billion, part of the tax revenue, will be spent as cash payments and each citizen will receive NT$6,000 (US$195.61).

“The fruits of the economic achievements will be shared by all citizens, from young to old,” Su told reporters, adding that a possible push requires approval by parliament, where the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has a majority.

“We wish to give all citizens a New Year’s blessing after the start of the Lunar New Year,” Su told reporters, referring to the week-long holiday that begins on Jan. 20.

He gave no details of how the government would deliver the payments.

Taiwan is a major producer of semiconductors used in everything from cars and smartphones to fighter jets. Its economy has continued to grow steadily during the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, helped by strong demand for chips on consumer electronics as more people work from home.

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Taiwan’s central bank in December cut its 2022 GDP growth estimate to 2.91% from its previous forecast of 3.51% in September.

For 2023, I expected GDP to grow by 2.53%. The economy grew 4.01% in the third quarter from the previous year.

$1 = 30.6740 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Jeanny Kao) Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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