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Gov't must stem population fears in 1 year: premier

TAIPEI -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah instructed relevant government departments Wednesday to fix all population problems incurred by a low birthrate and fast-aging society within one year, saying that the problems are taking a toll on Taiwan's national competitiveness.

At a Cabinet meeting on the impact caused by changes to the population structure, Jiang said Taiwan is now facing at least six manpower challenges, including how to get vocational high school graduates into the job market as soon as possible, and how to persuade students from overseas to stay in Taiwan and work to compensate for the lack of local manpower.

Taiwan also needs to relax restrictions in efforts to attract specialists in various fields and investors to move to Taiwan, while an early retirement trend has created a heavy burden on the country's pension system and has also caused an alarming shortfall in the workforce, the premier said.

In addition, he went on, a mechanism is needed to reduce the number of universities due to the dropping birthrate. Also, in the Internet era, Taiwan needs to cultivate talent in online services and establish relevant rules and regulations, Jiang said.

Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun said the premier has grave concerns over population and manpower problems, which are believed to be affecting the country's policies.

The premier mentioned in the meeting that a fast-declining working population is eroding the country's employed population and national competitiveness, Cheng said.

To resist the impact, the structure of the government's public policies must be revised with immediate effect, Cheng cited Jiang as telling reporters about the meeting's details.

Jiang has instructed the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development to list every problem and challenge before bringing them to the relevant departments tasked with fixing them, Cheng noted.

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