Pay raise for volunteer soldiers to cost taxpayers NT$ 5.5 bil.
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
December 19, 2013, 12:10 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A proposed salary raise for volunteer soldiers means the Ministry of National Defense (MND) would require additional budgetary allowances of NT$5.5 billion per year, Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) said yesterday.
Yen said yesterday during a legislative session that the MND proposal for a salary raise for volunteer soldiers is currently under consideration by the Cabinet, and the ministry could make an officially announcement “in the coming days.”
According to the MND's plan, a private with a starting salary of NT$29,000 would enjoy a NT$4,000 raise, bringing his or her monthly pay to NT$33,000 once the proposal is approved by the Executive Yuan.
Asked by a lawmaker how much money is needed to support the salary hike, the minister said that the proposal is expected to require an additional NT$5.5 billion per year.
But Yen stressed he is confident that the MND can afford the raise, which is seen as an incentive to boost sluggish voluntary service recruitment.
The MND said a day earlier that it hopes the newly adjusted starting salary for volunteer soldiers can officially be implemented in January 2014.
According to statistics released by the MND last week, Taiwan's armed forces have only recruited 8,603 men and women in the first 11 months of 2013, fulfilling just 30.15 percent of the MND's target of 28,531.
Higher Standard for Recruitment Needed: Lawmaker
Meanwhile, during the same session yesterday, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) urged the military to raise its threshold for recruiting volunteer soldiers to serve in the Air Defense Missile Command.
He noted that the command is responsible for the operation of many cutting-edge missile systems that need to be handled by soldiers with specific training and skills.