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China updates spending details of stimulus fund
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China's economic planning body released a breakdown Thursday of how the government's 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) of stimulus funding was being spent.

Since the stimulus package was unveiled in November, 230 billion yuan had been used as of the end of April, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website.

According to the commission, 214,000 units of low-income housing were completed, with construction started on another 650,000 units.

About 14.6 million people have access to safe drinking water and 20,000 kilometers of new roads were completed in rural areas.

The money also went to the completion of 445 kilometers of highways and 100,000 square-meters of terminal buildings.

Some 6,500 health service projects to improve public health and education were funded.

The commission said 1.18 trillion yuan, or 29 percent of the total package, was offered by the central government. The remaining fund will be supplied by local governments and the private sector.

Yan Yiming, a Shanghai lawyer specializing in securities, requested the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and NDRC publicize the detailed expenditure of the hefty stimulus package.

His call was echoed by millions of Chinese netizens who were concerned about the money being misused, corruption and the effectiveness of policies.

Mu Hong, vice minister of the NDRC, told Xinhua on March 2 that the commission would release information about expenditures on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn, and accept public comments.

On March 6, the commission released spending details for the first time. Roughly 1.5 trillion yuan will go to infrastructure construction including railways, roads, airports, urban power grids and irrigation projects. That takes up the biggest share of the money.

As for others, low-income housing projects will get 400 billion yuan. 370 billion yuan will be used to improve rural infrastructure and people's well-being. Some 150 billion yuan will help improve health care, education and cultural development. Energy saving and ecological projects will get 210 billion yuan. 370 billion yuan will fund innovation and industry restructuring.

About 1 trillion yuan will fund rebuilding areas hit by the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake.

(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2009)

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