Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) yesterday proposed issuing vouchers for use on e-commerce platforms to boost the nation’s economy.
“Domestic firms are facing a downturn in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers have been avoiding going out and have [subsequently] reduced shopping [activities],” Shen told reporters following a meeting with local businesses, while suggesting stimulating the market through the vouchers.
Emphasizing that discussions on the matter are still at a preliminary stage, Shen said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs could subsidize the issuance of 20 to 25 percent vouchers by e-commerce platforms.
Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times
Unlike the ministry’s previously announced stimulus coupons, which are to be issued six to 12 months after the virus crisis abates, Shen said that the online vouchers could be issued earlier and be funded by a NT$40 billion (US$1.32 billion) budget proposed by the government.
The ministry said that it plans to spend up to NT$207.4 billion on public infrastructure projects by the end of this year.
While the ministry has striven to stimulate economic activity, domestic businesses, particularly those in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, have been voicing growing concerns about overseas orders as the pandemic causes volatility on international markets.
“[Although] overall production has resumed in China ... ICT firms fear a potential decline, as order visibility remains very low for next quarter,” Shen said, but added that some companies have nevertheless benefited from transferred orders.
Another significant challenge for local firms is growing market competition from South Korea, he said, citing as an example depreciation of the South Korean won against the New Taiwan dollar.
Shen, who is on the central bank’s board of directors, promised to shed light on the matter.
The ministry has also been providing assistance by reducing utility rates and helping to negotiate more flexible work hours for the ICT industry’s foreign workers, he said.
“We also plan to delay rent payments for companies with manufacturing facilities in industrial parks for up to one year,” Shen said, adding that the policy would also apply to land leased from state-owned Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖).
However, any delay in rent payments for facilities in science parks would be decided by the Ministry of Science and Technology, he added.
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