Taiwan’s legislature today passed a pandemic-related financial relief plan, allowing the Executive Yuan to allocate up to NT$840 billion (US$30.4 billion) for direct payments and loans to citizens and businesses.

The Executive Yuan is to sign the budget into law on June 3, and the first payments are expected to hit accounts on June 4.

Middle and low-income households are eligible for an additional NT$4,500 (US$163) per month per household member for three months. The cities and counties of Taiwan have varying income thresholds, ranging from a high of NT$25,508/month (US$923) per household member in Taipei to as low as NT$17,472 (US$632) in the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu. The NT$4,500 comes on top of an annual subsidy for middle and low-income households in Taiwan of around NT$150,000 per year in Taipei.

Those who fall into certain job categories are also eligible for a pandemic-relief subsidy. Farmers and fishers are entitled to a one-time payment of NT$10,000; the self-employed, including street peddlers, and tourism workers, including tour operators, tour guides, and tour bus drivers, can apply for a NT$10,000 monthly payment for three months.

Migrant fishermen, along with non-citizen residents in other professions, were not explicitly included in the the measures made public today.

Workers are allowed to take out loans from state-owned banks of up to NT$100,000 at a reduced interest rate. Premier Su Tseng-chang said around 500,000 workers will benefit from this policy.

Taiwan’s government allocated NT$420 billion last year to subsidize workers and companies who have been hit hard by the pandemic. Kung Ming-hsin, Minister of the National Development Council, said with previous experience in processing the applications, he believes this time people will not have to wait in long lines outside public offices to apply to receive their targeted subsidies, which caused public discontent last year and would risk spreading the virus.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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