The Chinese government exercised timely and appropriate control to promote stable and rapid economic development and took measures to exercise macro-control over new developments as soon as they arose in the course of economic operation last year, Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday.
In the Report on the Work of the Government delivered at the opening of the Second Session of the Tenth National People's Congress, Wen said that last year China adhered to the policy of expanding domestic demand and continued to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy.
"When the SARS outbreak hit, we worked unflaggingly to prevent and control it, while at the same time unswervingly promoting economic development," Wen said.
"We concentrated on strengthening key areas, stimulating industrial production and ensuring unimpeded flow of goods and materials."
The government promptly adopted such supportive policies as reducing or exempting taxes and administrative charges on industries that were worst hit by SARS and granting soft loans to them, and enacted measures for increasing employment and rural incomes.
"All this helped minimize the impact of the SARS outbreak on economic development," he said.
According to the premier, the government last year provided guidance and control for investment, mainly through a combination of economic and legal means; further rectified and standardized the order of the land market and screened development zones of all types to stop disorderly and unauthorized acquisition of farmland; and increased the deposit-reserve ratio for financial institutions to an appropriate level to bring the excessively rapid growth of credit under control.
The government also expanded support for agriculture, rural areas and farmers and made plans in a timely fashion to ensure the continued enthusiasm of major grain producing areas and grain producers.
In 2003, the premier said, China stepped up the strategic restructuring of the economy and put greater efforts into a number of key projects vital to economic growth and economic restructuring.
He informed the lawmakers of progress in the Three Gorges hydraulic project, the cross-country natural gas pipeline project, the Qinghai-Tibet railway trunk line, and the cross-country power transmission project, the cross-country water diversion project, the large-scale development of the western region, and the efforts to revitalize northeast China and other old industrial bases.
(China Daily March 5, 2004)