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Gov't working to reduce liabilities: finance minister

TAIPEI--The government is working to reform the country's pension programs in an effort to reduce its liabilities, Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford said Monday after it was revealed that “potential debt” owed by the government had topped NT$17 trillion (US$56.46 billion) as of the end of 2013.

The deficit-laden pension programs currently form the biggest portion of unfunded financial obligations owed by the government that do not show as actual debts outstanding, Chang explained.

If a reform package proposed by the executive branch is approved by the Legislature, the programs are not expected to face any financial problems within the next 20 to 30 years, thus preventing the liabilities from become debts, he said.

In a front-page story published Monday, the Liberty Times cited data from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics showing that as of the end of 2013, the government had NT$17.14 trillion in unfunded financial obligations that were not listed as public debts.

The figure represents an increase of NT$745.7 billion from 2012 and NT$4.12 trillion from 2010, the paper said.

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