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May 27, 2017

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National debt remains at NT$216,000 per person

The China Post news staff--The nation's national debt, at roughly NT$216,000 per person in August, remaining unchanged in the past three months, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Outstanding long-term (one year and longer) debts for the central government stood at about NT$4.87 trillion in August, and short-term debts decreased NT$5 billion from July to reach NT$145 billion, the ministry said.

But some scholars noted that the figures, as displayed by the "national debt clock," did not take into account so-called hidden debts, such as those from local governments, according to the United Evening News.

If all hidden debts are taken into consideration, Taiwan's national debt is estimated at NT$21.5 trillion, or over NT$900,000 per person, the scholars were quoted as indicating.

The ministry's National Treasury Agency said the figures displayed on the debt clock are adjusted monthly according to increases and decreases in national debt.

It said the debt level started falling in May, and it remained unchanged in the three months from June to August, during which citizens paid their annual income taxes and government spending was not at peak levels.

The central government is expected to have a deficit of NT$200 billion this year. With the need to allocate some special budgets, the government will have to borrow NT$378.5 billion this year, the United Evening News said.

The national debt level was at NT$216,000 per person in January, then continued to rise in the next three months to reach NT$225,000 in April. But it dropped to NT$223,000 in May.

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