China's political advisors are urging the government to abolish
the seven-year-long tax on the interest of bank savings, saying
that imposing the tax harmed the benefit of low-income families and
contributed to the failure to stimulate domestic consumption.
"Rich people with huge bank savings don't care much about the
tax. But to people with middle and low incomes, the tax has really
affected their interests," said Qin Xiao, one of the 27 political
advisors who jointly submitted the proposal.
China began to levy a 20-percent tax on interests of savings
deposits since 1999 to all Renminbi and foreign currency savings
accounts that individuals opened in Chinese banks, chief for
reducing mounting individual bank savings.
"Given inflation and the interest tax, the real interest rate of
bank deposits has almost become negative for individual citizens,"
said Wang Zhaobin, another political advisor and vice chairman of
the federation of industry and commerce of Henan Province.
The current benchmark interest rate for one-year deposit rate is
at 2.52 percent, according to the People's Bank of China, or the
Qin, also board chairman of the China Merchants Group, said the
interest tax was issued with the purpose of reducing China's bank
savings, boosting consumption and curbing deflation in the
"But the macroeconomic environment has changed and China's
economy has grown out of deflation. Therefore, to continue such a
policy seems unnecessary," Qin said.
Renowned economist Wu Jinglian, also member of the National
Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, said that the interest tax on savings deposits has
failed to reduce individual saving and showed no obvious effects on
stimulating domestic consumption.
A recent central bank report indicated that China's Renminbi
saving deposits reached 15.97 trillion yuan at the end of November
last year, up 15.3 percent year-on-year.
China's high savings rate is attributed to low consumer
confidence because of high employment pressures and costly
education, housing and medical care, analysts say.
The government has said that it will redouble the efforts to
stimulate domestic consumption in 2007, mainly by raising the
incomes of farmers and low-income urban families.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2007)