Full text: Report on China's central, local budgets

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Following is the full text of the report on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2015 and on the central and local draft budgets for 2016, which was submitted for review on March 5 at the Fourth Session of the 12th National People's Congress and was adopted on March 16:


Fourth Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress

March 5, 2016

Ministry of Finance

Fellow Deputies,

The Ministry of Finance has been entrusted by the State Council to submit this report on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2015 and on the drafts of the central and local budgets for 2016 to the fourth session of the Twelfth National People's Congress (NPC) for your deliberation and for comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

I. Execution of the Central and Local Budgets for 2015

In the face of a complex international environment and the formidable tasks of domestic reform, development, and stability in 2015, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have brought together and led all of the people of China in taking an active approach to economic and social development, adapting to the new normal in economic growth, and responding appropriately to all major risks and challenges. As a result, the economy has maintained a medium-high rate of growth, the economic structure has improved, reform has been deepened, opening up has been promoted, further improvements have been made to the people's quality of life, and social stability was ensured. Both the central and local government budgets were executed satisfactorily last year.

1. Implementation of the NPC's budget resolution

In accordance with the resolution of the third session of the Twelfth NPC on the report on both the execution of the central and local budgets for 2014 and the central and local draft budgets for 2015 as well as the review of that report by the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, we have developed new ways to improve macro regulation through fiscal policy, made steady progress in the reform of fiscal and tax systems, and worked hard to bring about sustained, healthy economic and social development.

Rule of law has been strengthened throughout fiscal and tax work.

We made efforts to ensure that governments at all levels, departments, and organizations improved their rule of law awareness as they put into effect all of the requirements laid down in the Budget Law. We strengthened the development of the Budget Law's complementary institutions, soliciting comments from the general public on the draft revisions to the Implementation Regulations of the Budget Law, launching management regulations for special transfer payments from the central government to local governments, and revising management regulations for general transfer payments and other rules and regulations. We collaborated with the relevant NPC department on further clarifying the principle of law-based taxation in the Legislation Law, and drew up guidelines for implementing this principle. We also actively assisted legislative work, such as the preparations for enacting an environmental protection tax.

Budgetary work has been made more authoritative and consequential in all aspects.

We have tightened budgetary constraints and made sure that all expenditures are based on budgets. We further increased the detail of budget itemization, scaled down the amount of tentative budgets prepared by the Ministry of Finance for other governments offices or programs, and examined and approved departmental budgets in a timely fashion. We accelerated the work to break down and disseminate budgetary expenditure targets and intensified inspections of programs implemented by central government departments, therein achieving noticeably faster budget execution. We improved the regulatory system for budgets and made budget assessment an essential part of the budgetary management procedures. We introduced regulations such as the provisional regulations for performance target management of special transfer payments from the central government to local governments. The number and yuan value of central government department programs that received performance evaluations rose by 26.3% and 27% respectively, and the evaluation results were linked to the allocation of this year's budgets. We expanded the number of government departments whose budgets and final accounts are subject to NPC review, and for the first time, publicly released budgets for special transfer payments broken down by region and by program. We also carried out inspections on the disclosure of local governments' budgets and final accounts with a view to enhancing their fiscal transparency.

Proactive fiscal policy has been made more targeted and effective.

In responding to economic developments, we exercised targeted and well-timed regulation on the basis of range-based regulation and strengthened anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, ensuring that the Chinese economy operated within an appropriate range.

First, we maintained a necessary level of spending intensity. We increased the government deficit by an appropriate amount in the 2015 budget, and put to use funds carried over from previous years to increase the intensity of spending. We took a host of measures, such as thoroughly reviewing carryover and surplus funds and strengthening inspections and accountability, to put existing government funds to use for the purposes of ensuring the wellbeing of the people, strengthening points of weakness, and making development more sustainable. A total of 3.2 trillion yuan worth of bonds were issued to replace outstanding debt of local governments close to maturity, helping reduce their interest burden and debt repayment pressure and free up financial resources for the development of key programs.

Second, we stepped up efforts to reduce taxes and fees. We expanded the scope of certain preferential policies, such as those concerning corporate income tax for low-profit small businesses and the accelerated depreciation of fixed assets. We exempted small and micro businesses from 42 different kinds of administrative charges and canceled or suspended the collection of 57 kinds of central-level administrative charges. We lowered premiums for unemployment, workplace injury, and maternity insurance schemes, and expanded the scope of the policy of providing subsidies from the unemployment insurance fund to enterprises that maintain stable employment during structural adjustments.

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