Cabinet outlines plans for new stimulus voucher program

Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday outlined its plans for a new stimulus voucher program, which it said would launch in early October and run through the end of next April.

The National Development Council (NDC), which serves as the government's economic policy-planning agency, announced its plans for the program at a press conference, after presenting them at a Cabinet meeting earlier that morning.

According to the NDC, the vouchers will have a total value of NT$5,000 (US$178.89) and be issued to Taiwan citizens and holders of Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRCs) without an upfront payment, in either paper or digital format.

Pre-ordering of the vouchers will begin in late September, after which they will become available for collection in the first half of October and remain valid through April of next year, the agency said.

In addition to in-store purchases, the vouchers will also be available for use on a still undetermined list of domestic e-commerce platforms, but will exclude all foreign e-commerce sites, said NDC chief Kung Ming-hsin (???).

According to Kung, shopkeepers will not be required to give change for purchases made using the vouchers, which will reportedly come in denominations of NT$1,000 (three vouchers), NT$500 (two vouchers) and NT$200 (five vouchers).

Aside from the main voucher program, the agency said, the government will also issue themed vouchers for use in eight economic sectors that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the sports, culture, agriculture and Hakka village travel vouchers issued last year, this year's program will include vouchers for food & restaurants, domestic travel, "regional revitalization" and Indigenous-run businesses, the agency said.

Registration for the themed vouchers -- a total of 13 million of which will be issued in various denominations -- will be offered on a single platform (5000.gov.tw), as opposed to the multiple registration websites that were used last year, the NDC said.

As of Thursday afternoon, several government agencies had already announced initial details of the voucher programs under their purview.

For example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said it was planning to release 4 million NT$500 food and restaurant vouchers to be used at restaurants, night markets, traditional markets and bakeries.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, meanwhile, will issue 1.2 million domestic travel vouchers valued at NT$1,000 each, which must be used at travel agencies to book tour packages, hotel accommodation or amusement park tickets, according to Minister Wang Kuo-tsai (???).

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel