China Times: It's time to raise wages
Central News Agency
2014-08-21 07:31 PM
Steady economic growth and rising tax revenue since the beginning of the year make now a good time for the government not only to raise the minimum wage but to encourage local companies to raise wages for workers. The unemployment rate went down to 3.89 percent in the April-June period as economic growth hit 3.74 percent, all on top of a relatively rosy forecast of 3.41 percent growth for the entire year. Tax revenue also hit a historic high of NT$1.19 trillion (US$39.67 billion) in the first seven months of this year. If the trend can continue, tax revenues for 2014 may exceed expectations by as much as NT$30.3 billion, the Ministry of Finance estimated. The deliberation committee on adjustments to the minimum wage decided last year that it will only consider raising the minimum when Taiwan's CPI hits an annual growth of 3 percent. But Taiwan's inflation rate is usually mild, and the local CPI has hovered between 1.8 percent and 2.5 percent growth in recent years. Even so, food prices rose 3.84 percent year-on-year in the first seven months of 2014, leaving quite an impact despite low inflation overall. It is time for the government to leverage wages as a way to boost economic growth, starting by raising the minimum wage to push up average pay overall. In addition to that, officials should also encourage raises for all workers through tax cuts and other incentives and information transparency. Decent salaries could encourage employees to work hard while drawing in exceptionally talented individuals. If the public and private sectors take care of the wage issue they can stop the current brain drain from severely damaging Taiwan's society and economy. (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 21, 2014) (By Kuo Chung-han)
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