Taipei, The Executive Yuan on Thursday passed a central government budget plan for 2021, which projects a deficit of NT$201.5 billion (US$6.83 billion) for the year.
At a weekly Cabinet meeting, the Executive Yuan approved 2021 government revenue at NT$2.045 trillion, down 2.9 percent, or NT$62 billion, from 2020, while government spending was designated at NT$2.1615 trillion, the highest ever, and a year-on-year increase of 4 percent.
The budget plan has to be reviewed and passed by the Legislative Yuan before being officially approved.
Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) attributed the projected fall in government revenue for 2021 to the impact of the the new coronavirus outbreak, including reduced company revenue and deferred filings for tax returns.
On the other hand, government spending was projected to grow 4 percent, or NT$83.9 billion, over 2020, amid fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Chu said.
The largest single item of government expenditure for 2021, accounting for NT$559.4 billion, or 25.9 percent, is social programs, while spending on education, culture and science comes to NT$429 billion, or 19.9 percent.
In third place is defense expense, which amounts to NT$352.3 billion, or 16.3 percent, of the total, ahead of NT$253.9 billion, or 11.7 percent, for economic development in fourth.
The difference between expenditure and revenue is NT$116.5 billion. Coupled with pre-existing debt of NT$85 billion, the government is projecting a shortfall of NT$201.5 billion.
In order to cover that deficit, the government will borrow NT$201.5 billion and repay NT$191.5 billion as required by law, resulting in a surplus of NT$10 billion.
The NT$191.5 billion borrowed together with a special budget of NT$268.1 billion will result in NT$459.6 billion in debt for 2021, according to the DGBAS.
As a result, the combined national debt is expected to increase to NT$6.134 trillion by the end of the next year, it said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel