2019 technology budget up over 5 percent

2018/07/27 17:33:30 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy of Pixabay

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) The Executive Yuan has come up with a higher budget for Taiwan's technology development in 2019, boosting spending by more than 5 percent from a year earlier.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka told the press Thursday that the government's technology budget for 2019 will total NT$116.3 billion (US$3.8 billion), up 5.12 percent from a year earlier.

According to Kolas, the latest technology budget ironed out by the Board of Science and Technology (BOST) under the Cabinet has secured a greenlight from Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德). The budget is pending approval from the Legislative Yuan.

A report from the BOST shows that the technology spending by the government will focus on technology innovations, the biotech industry, the national defense industry, green energy, smart machinery, circular economy, new agriculture and artificial intelligence (AI), which will include efforts in semiconductors, digital economy and the Cabinet's Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency (ASVDA).

ASVDA was established by the Cabinet in late 2016 with the mission of turning Taiwan into an Asian Silicon Valley.

If including NT$2.79 billion that will be assigned by the Executive Yuan's Technology Development Fund for AI and space science development, the government's total technology spending for 2019 is expected to hit NT$119.09 billion, up 7.65 percent from 2018.

In the wake of the release of the BOST's technology budget, Deputy Science and Technology Minister Su Fong-chin (蘇芳慶) said the planned spending showed the government has paid much emphasis on the local technology development, adding that with strong support from the government, the private and academic sectors are expected to move ahead.

Su said the budget places about 30.5 percent of the total spending on basic science development, which is expected to build a good foundation for basic science researchers.

Among the board members at Thursday's BOST meeting were former chairman of contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Morris Chang (張忠謀), Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) and Vice President of Academia Sinica Chou Mei-yin (周美吟).

Officials close to the BOST meeting said Chang expressed concern that AI is expected to lower the demand for workers, which could keep wages low in the local job market.

(By Ku Chuan, Chu Tse-wei and Frances Huang)
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