To address the economic impact of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Tsai Ing-wen convened a high-level national security meeting at noon on March 12 attended by the premier, vice premier, heads of relevant cabinet agencies, the National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general, and a number of NSC advisors. After hearing reports on response measures prepared by the Executive Yuan and various cabinet agencies, the president stated that the domestic COVID-19 outbreak is well under control thanks to proactive prevention and containment measures. But she added that the government must also take proactive measures to respond to the outbreak's economic impact by boosting economic momentum in the short-term and maintaining Taiwan's economic vitality.
President Tsai issued the following five directives:
1. Implement a NT$60 billion special budget to fund disease prevention: Disease prevention and financial relief and stimulus provisions have already been enacted, and the Legislative Yuan is currently deliberating a special budget that would provide a NT$60 billion relief package for industries affected by the outbreak. These measures must be properly implemented.
2. All cabinet agencies must shift spending priorities to concentrate on emergency measures: In addition to the NT$60 billion emergency relief package, the president directed that government budgets and funds, such as the Employment Security Fund and the Tourism Development Fund, should be used for emergency relief purposes. Those funds could direct nearly NT$40 billion toward emergency relief and economic stimulus measures.
3. Implement government investments and procurement as soon as possible to accelerate the expansion of domestic demand: The president directed the Executive Yuan to examine existing projects of government agencies and state-run enterprises. In addition to closely monitoring Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program progress, all public infrastructure projects and government procurement, including public services such as long-term care and early childhood education and care, and national defense industries and related procurement, must be increased and accelerated to expand domestic demand as efficiently and quickly as possible.
4. Help accelerate private investment to maintain economic momentum and vitality: In addition to accelerating investment by the public sector, the government must do everything possible to encourage private investment. The president directed relevant cabinet agencies to faithfully implement the program to facilitate the return of Taiwanese businesses to invest here, and help enterprisers eliminate investment obstacles to maintain private sector investment momentum and overall economic vitality.
5. Stabilize financial markets and maintain foreign exchange market stability and stock market momentum: Taiwan's domestic economy has good fundamentals and strong liquidity. But to avoid any psychological impact from disease outbreak developments, the president directed the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Supervisory Commission, and the Central Bank to carefully monitor international financial markets, especially the US stock market, and respond quickly to maintain foreign exchange market stability and stock market momentum.