Compared to previous years, what are the new characteristics of and changes in this year's special bonds? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. In accordance with the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, this year's special bonds will focus more on supporting economic and social development as well as epidemic control. Compared to previous years, the highlights and changes will be in the following aspects:
First, the scale will be expanded prudently. In the past two years, with the authorization of the National People's Congress and the approval of the State Council, some quotas for newly increased special bonds have been allocated in advance. In 2019, the quota was 810 billion yuan, while this year, the work has been done even earlier. The MOF has already allocated a quota of 1.29 trillion yuan in new special bonds. In addition, a decision has been made to grant another quota. This year's total volume has surpassed that of last year.
Second, issuance and utilization are being expedited. As was just explained, by March 31, local governments had issued 1.08 trillion yuan in special bonds, surging by 63 percent year on year. Moreover, an additional quota will be granted. The expedited issuance of bonds and fund utilization will help intensify macroeconomic policy regulation to offset the impact of the epidemic as soon as possible.
Third, the funds raised will be earmarked for designated projects. The additional quota for local government special bonds will be skewed in favor of regions with a large number of major projects and low epidemic risks where investment can effectively stimulate economic growth. Increased funds will help accelerate construction of key projects, including those that will improve people's wellbeing.
Fourth, utilization of funds will be optimized to meet the demand of epidemic control and demand changes in the investment sector. Today, the funds raised by special bonds are mainly used in seven sectors--transport infrastructure; energy; agriculture, forestry and water resources; environmental protection; services essential to people's livelihood; cold-chain logistics; as well as urban utility projects and infrastructure in industry parks. In the future, utilization of such funds will be properly expanded, with national key strategic projects prioritized for major support. Meanwhile, funds will go toward the renovation of old urban communities, while local governments will be allowed to invest these funds in emergency medical care, public health, vocational education and urban facilities such as heating and gas supply, especially in accelerating the construction of new infrastructure, including 5G networks, data centers, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Fifth, the proportion of funds raised by special bonds in the capital fund of key projects will be raised in order to mobilize more private investment. As for the newly issued special bonds this year, local governments are allowed to appropriately raise this proportion, while keeping in line with policies and risk control requirements, so as to better use the special bonds to attract more private investment. Thank you.