A debate has broken out in Taiwan over sending cash to combat the economic downturn related to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to stimulate select areas of the economy using coupon vouchers. The second-largest party, the Nationalist Party (KMT), has pushed for cash instead.

The DPP argued that cash is more likely to be “saved,” while vouchers have a better “stimulative” effect on the economy because they must be spent.

Chiang Wan-an, a member of the KMT, said sending cash is a more realistic way of providing financial security for Taiwanese. Cash can be used on paying education fees, healthy food items, and other essential areas, Chiang said.

Singapore plans to send a one-time payment of $420 USD to all Singaporeans above age 21 on April 14.

Taiwan’s proposed vouchers could be used to reduce the price of certain goods by 25 percent. KMT members argued this would not be convenient for those who do not understand the mobile payment system it would require. 

This voucher system would also not help the poor who need to make essential purchases not covered by the vouchers, the KMT said

Taiwan’s ruling DPP party did not rule out cash, but said that plans to send out cash would be targeted to “disadvantaged groups.”