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Government income to rise by 5.4 percent next year: Cabinet

Due to the positive influence of the fiscal reform plan carried out by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), annual government revenue in 2015 is projected to rise to NT$1.7993 trillion, an increase of NT$92.4 billion, or 5.4 percent, compared with 2014. Expenditure is set to increase to NT$1.9597 trillion, an increase of NT$43.5 billion, or 2.3 percent, from the 2014 budget, the Cabinet said yesterday.

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved the 2015 annual budget and said it will send the budget proposal to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation by the end of August.

The increased projected revenue for 2015 is mainly due to increased income from business tax, tariff and securities transaction tax, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) Minister Shih Su-mei (石素梅) said. The income from fees and charges is also expected to increase NT$15 billion, or 25.2 percent, compared with 2014 due to revenues from releasing the fourth-generation mobile services licenses.

The increased expenditure will be mainly allocated to public construction, technological development, education, cultural projects and social welfare, Shih said.

Among the expenditure items, social welfare will be allocated the largest portion of the budget, NT$441.6 billion, which is 22.5 percent of total expenditure, Shih said. The second largest portion, NT$385.6 billion or 19.7 percent, will go on education, cultural projects and technology; NT$312.3 billion, or 15.9 percent, will go toward defense, Shih said.

She further pointed out that the defense budget has increased NT$8 billion compared with the 2014 budget, noting that the increased budget is allocated for military investment and the maintenance of facilities.

MOF on Annual Budget

Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said that there are things in the 2015 annual budget worth pointing out. He said that compared with the 2014 budget, the government has increased the amount to be spent on public construction to NT$12.8 billion, or 7.2 percent, which will boost domestic economic growth.

Chang further said that owing to economic growth and the execution of the fiscal reform plan, annual revenue is projected to increase NT$48.1 billion. The excess of expenditure over revenue is expected to be NT$160.4 billion, which is NT$48.9 billion less than the deficit in 2014.

The minister said, in the meantime, that the government only needs to incur a debt of NT$226.4 billion, which is NT$46.9 billion less than in 2014. Chang said that Taiwan's debt ratios would also be reduced from 2014's 38.1 percent to 2015's projected 38 percent. Chang commented on the 2015 annual budget proposal by saying it shows that the fiscal reform plan is improving the nation's finances.

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