Nov 24, 2011

Taiwan: Culture Budget Set To Rise Further

Although overshadowed by comment at the cost of a large-scale musical, President Ma Ying-jeou has pledged to keep a in his administration’s sights the commitment to devote 4% of Taiwan’s budget to culture.

Below is an article published by Taiwan News:

Representatives from various branches of the cultural world gathered outside the Council for Cultural Affairs Thursday [24 November 2011] morning to present their views on what the central government’s cultural priorities should be.

Cultural policies came to the forefront of public attention last week when CCA Minister Emile Sheng resigned amid an outcry over the spending of more than NT$200 million (US$6.5 million) on two performances of a musical.

The cultural world decried the musical’s budget, saying the government spent too much time reviewing much simpler subsidy requests, but apparently had no qualms about spending enormous amounts on prestigious projects like the musical “Dreamers,” which was part of the Republic of China centennial celebrations.

The president said the main reason why he hadn’t been able to raise the culture budget to 4 percent of the central government budget was the worldwide financial crisis which broke out early during his first term. The government would review its cultural policies, but the 4 percent would still remain the target, Ma said.

The KMT said that even though he missed the target of 4 percent, the central government’s culture budget had nevertheless still risen year after year.

During the Democratic Progressive Party administration before 2008, the central government was spending between NT$5 billion (US$164 million) and NT$6 billion (US$197 million) on culture per year, the KMT said. Under Ma’s administration, the budget climbed to NT$8 billion (US$263 million) at first, and reached NT$10 billion (US$328 million) during Sheng’s term in office, the KMT said.

Next year, the central government’s culture budget would certainly surpass the present total of NT$10 billion, the ruling party said.

Sheng is to be succeeded as CCA minister by Minister without Portfolio Ovid Tzeng at a ceremony on Friday.