PREMIER CALLS FOR SWIFT PASSAGE OF NATIONAL BUDGET BILL
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, May 29 (CNA) Premier Chang Chun-hsiung urged the Legislative Yuan Tuesday to pass the national budget bill for 2007 swiftly, saying that the delay in passing it has caused great damage to the nation.
Speaking at a news conference, Chang said that if the budget bill fails to clear the Legislative Yuan before it goes into recess, the legislature should convene a special session.
The legislature's current session was originally scheduled to end Tuesday, but it has been extended to June 15.
Chang said that the long delay in passing the budget bill has threatened national security, public health, the rights of school children, transportation development, as well as flood-control efforts.
He pointed out that the Council of Economic Planning and Development has estimated that if the budget bill is not passed by the end of this June, the impact will be 0.25 percent to 0.3 percent lower economic growth for the year. If it is not passed by the end of December, the impact will be 0.45 percent to 0.6 percent lower economic growth, he added.
The major military procurement projects and the upgrading of weaponry also have not been able to be carried out because of the delay, the premier said.
Major transportation development projects, such as construction of the Changhua and Putai sections of the Hsipin Expressway, a coastline expressway in western Taiwan, as well as flood control projects, have also been stalled because of a lack of funds.
The budget bill, which should have been passed in late 2006, has been bogged down in the opposition-controlled legislature mainly because the ruling and the opposition parties have been at loggerheads over the composition of the CEC, which the opposition wants to be comprised of members in proportion to the number of seats each party has in the legislature.
Both the Organic Law of the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the 2007 national budget bill have been put on Tuesday's agenda.
(By Lilian Wu)
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