Government unveils further Covid-19 support measures
Taiwan's government is continuing to step up measures to tackle COVID-19.
This includes providing compensation, subsidies and tax breaks for businesses, individuals and organizations affected by the disease.
Minister without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin say as part of the relief measures, government banks will cut interest rates on loans for self-use homes valued at NT$10 million or less by 0.5 percentage points for six months.
Furthermore, individual income taxpayers will be allowed to apply to postpone their deadlines for income tax payments by up to one year or to pay by instalment for up to three years.
For small businesses that do not need to issue invoices but which are severely affected by COVID-19, the government will lower their corporate-tax rates to as low as zero.
Meanwhile, telecoms companies will not force collection of bills for six months, and elderly people, children and the disabled in socially disadvantaged families can get subsidies of $1,500 for three months.
There are also plans to reimburse people for cancelled trips, among several other measures.
The government is also set to take steps to encourage online shopping by offering vouchers, as businesses struggle with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs says the vouchers could provide discounts between 20 and 25% to those that buy items online.
Shen says his administration hopes the vouchers will be ready and distributed to the public as soon as possible, but the programme still requires approval from the Executive Yuan.
The MOEA is also preparing NT$400 million to help universities get through the coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry of Education says the money is meant to assist schools in diversifying their teaching methods as well as to buy anti-epidemic equipment such as facemasks and thermometers.
The funds will also help schools maintain normal operations. The subsidies will be available to both public and private schools. Applications are set to begin in mid-April, and the money could start being distributed in early May.
In separate news, the Taipei City government is offering some financial relief to local businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Mayor Ke Wen-je says companies that saw their revenue drop by 15% compared to a year before can postpone tax payments by a year. In addition, companies occupying city-owned land can get a 50% reduction in their rent for up to three months, and this programme could be extended further.
All Taipei firms will get a 15% reduction in their water bills, while hospitals, hotels, and other facilities involved in the fight against coronavirus will see them cut by half.
In addition, small and medium enterprises and start-ups will get subsidies to help them with loan interest payments.