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Fiscal revenue grows rapidly
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China's central and local governments recorded 4.82 trillion yuan (654 billion U.S. dollars) in fiscal revenue during the first 11 months of this year, up 33.5 percent from the same period of last year.


Revenue was 9.3 percent higher than the annual budget, Finance Minister Xie Xuren said Wednesday.


However, revenue and spending patterns diverged at the central and local levels. While central government revenue grew faster, local government spending expanded more rapidly.


The 11-month revenue total was 2.69 trillion yuan for the central government, up 37 percent, and 2.13 trillion yuan for local governments, up 29.4 percent, Xie added.


He forecasted the revenue for the whole year of 2007 would surge 31 percent year-on-year to hit 5.1 trillion yuan.


Xie attributed the higher revenue to the rapid, stable growth of the economy, favorable conditions for the structure and efficiency of the economy, and better collection practices.


According to Xie, the first 11 months saw fiscal expenditure amount to 3.71 trillion yuan, up 25.2 percent. The total included 886 billion yuan by the central government, up 16.2 percent, and 2.82 trillion yuan by local governments, up 28.4 percent.


By expenditure category, 236 billion yuan was used for agricultural, forestry and water supply projects, up 31.4 percent, 557.8 billion yuan for education, up 32.7 percent, and 141.9 billion yuan for health and medical care, up 40.6 percent. Another 412.8 billion yuan went to social welfare projects, up 28.6 percent and 117.4 billion yuan to scientific research, up 33 percent.


The government will spread free nine-year compulsory education currently enjoyed by 150 million rural children to their urban counterpart in the coming 2008.


China will maintain its prudent fiscal policy next year, according to the key Central Economic Work Conference held in early December.


Xie told a national financial work conference held Wednesday that fiscal policy was an important means of macroeconomic control.


He said that economic forecasting, monitoring and analysis should be improved and that fiscal policy should be guided by trends in economic development. He added that a variety of tools -- taxation, budgeting, treasury bonds and government procurement -- should be used to stabilize economic growth.


According to Xie, next year China will narrow its fiscal deficit and cut the volume of treasury bonds issued for long-term construction projects. Central government capital spending will focus on improving production and living conditions in rural areas, environmental protection and support for social projects.


The central fiscal deficit was set at 245 billion yuan for 2007, down 50 billion yuan from 2006, and treasury bond issues intended for long-term construction projects were set at 50 billion yuan, down 10 billion yuan.


He said that next year, spending would also rise for education, scientific research, housing, energy conservation and emissions reduction and public security.


Fiscal leverage would be used to support the production of grain, edible oil and meat and other agricultural products to ensure supplies and curb inflation. Food prices constitute 33 percent of China's consumer price index, which rose by an 11-year-high of 6.9 percent in November.


The government will continue next year to adjust export rebates and tariffs to curb exports of resources products and products whose production involves more energy consumption and pollutants emissions, said the Finance Minister.


The government will also encourage export of high value-added products and imports of energy-saving and pollution-reducing equipments, he added.


China has vowed to reduce the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutants emissions by ten percent between 2006 and 2010.


Its energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped three percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2007. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell 1.81 percent and chemical oxygen demand (a measure of water pollution) dropped 0.28 percent in the same period.


(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)

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