China on way to gov't budget transparency

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 11, 2010
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The drafted budget of China's central and local governments for 2010 is something different from before, as more figures about govrnment revenue and spending are included and is seen as a major move to bring more government budget into the limelight.

The government fund budget appeared for the first time. It details government revenues raised from means such as fees, land transfer and lottery sales. The money is used to finance infrastructure construction and social spendings.

China budgeted 1.87 trillion yuan in government fund revenues in 2010, and an expenditure of 1.94 trillion yuan, according to the report released by the Ministry of Finance on March 5.

Publishing the figure means the hefty fund will come under the scrutiny of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for the first time.

Gao Qiang, director of the Budgetary Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said the new move plays great importance in enhancing the NPC's supervision of the government budget.

Land transfer fees, the government revenues from land transfers to property developers, also appeared in the report unprecedentedly.

Last year, the central government took in 27.49 billion yuan, and local governments earned 1.4 trillion yuan from land transfers, which became a major source of revenue for local authorities.

Although some details still need improvements, this transparency is a major step from before, Gao said.

He said NPC is soliciting public opinion on subjecting all government revenues and expenditures to the budget oversight.

"People deserve the right to get a clear picture about the government budget, since the money comes from the people and is used for the well-being of the people," Gao said.

In addition, NPC also asked the State Council, China's cabinet, to distribute reports about administrative expenditures in 2011, which is easily abused by government officials for their personal pleasure in the names of public business spending.

Administrative expenditures have long come under public criticism as many officials took advantage of the public fund to travel abroad and personally use government-owned vehicles.

Gao said such spending would be included in next year's budget report. It is a daunting job which requires much detailed work, he added.

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