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Legislators blame CEPD for weak growth

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- As the GDP growth forecast in 2013 was recently further adjusted downward, legislators across party lines lashed out against Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), the head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), in the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Sources say Kuan would receive a year-end bonus amounting to NT$280,000 this year. Legislators said that Kuan should be held accountable for not enabling Taiwan to reach the 2-percent GDP growth target, and that Kuan's year-end bonus should be slashed.

Kuan said in response that he would accept any decisions made by the Legislature, including slashing all of his year-end bonus or even resignation as a way of taking responsibility for the economy's poor performance.

Kuan said that the CEPD is responsible for orchestrating the country's economic development plan, while the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) is charged with forecasting the GDP growth rate.

Kuan pointed out that it has been a while since Taiwan has experienced economic hardship, and that it is not a short-term phenomenon. There is a long-term structural problem that has yet to be resolved. As such, the CEPD will re-study a four-year plan it proposed last year.

The CEPD has been working for the past six months on a long-term plan and a series of measures to deal with the country's economic problems, and will present its proposals in a month or two, Kuan said.

The CEPD usually puts forward a flexible national development plan every four years, which includes economic growth and unemployment rate targets.

Regarding the 1.74-percent GDP growth forecast this year, DGBAS head Shih Su-mei (石素梅) said the problem is that Taiwan's GDP is 65-percent reliant on exports, which are sensitive to international fluctuations.

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Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) answers questions from the press at the Legislature, yesterday. With the 2-percent GDP growth target ...

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