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Govt to Waive or Reduce Taxes on SARS-hit Sectors
Taxes and administrative fees levied by the Chinese Government on some industries affected by the outbreak of SARS will be waived or reduced.

It is the first time in Chinese history that such a measure has been taken to protect suffering industries.

The reduction is effective from May 1 to September 30 and involves more than a dozen categories of taxes and fees levied by both the central and local governments, the Ministry of Finance said Sunday.

The beneficiaries include restaurants, hotels, trading markets, tourism, entertainment, civil aviation, road transportation, water transportation, taxi and bus industries.

The central government also announced that it will allocate an additional 812.6 million yuan (US$98.3 million) to improve the infrastructure and capacity of local medical institutes in a bid to prevent SARS from spreading to rural areas.

This fund is on top of 1.55 billion yuan (US$187 million) that the government has already channeled to the construction of nationwide disease prevention and control network.

The fund will mainly be used for restructuring hospitals designated for SARS treatment as well as fever clinics and isolation chambers at county-level medical institutes in rural areas. It will purchase desperately needed medical equipment and vehicles.

The fund will also be used to build disposal facilities for hazardous waste and medical sewage and to purchase specialized transport vehicles.

(People's Daily May 12, 2003)

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