TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan said on Tuesday that planned “stimulus coupons” for its coronavirus-hit economy could boost consumer spending by T$100 billion ($3.3 billion) this year.
In its latest move to spur the trade-reliant economy, Taiwan’s cabinet announced a budget of nearly T$50 billion for the coupons, part of a stimulus package worth T$1.05 trillion.
Citizens will have to pay T$1,000 to the government to get T$3,000 worth of cash-equivalent coupons, the economic ministry said.
The coupons can only be used until the end of this year and can be spent in most shops, but there are some exceptions, including tobacco purchases.
“We will not be giving out cash directly. If people get cash, they might just put it in their pockets without spending,” Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters.
Lower-income families will be given T$1,000 in cash along with the coupons, he said, adding that the programme would start in mid-July.
The island’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, questioned the effectiveness of the programme, saying it was “inconvenient” for people to spend money before they receive the coupons. The party urged government to give out cash instead.
Taiwan’s economy, a key part of the global technology supply chain, is likely to grow 1.67% this year, as the pandemic hits the island’s consumption, especially the services sector and tourism.
Unemployment also hit a more than six-year high in April.
The impact, however, was partly offset by still-strong global demand for electronics thanks to the growing need for telecommuting as more people work from home to reduce the risk of infections.
($1 = 29.9250 Taiwan dollars)
(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Roger Tung; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Gerry Doyle)