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Township Jobs Will Increase

Township enterprises will provide about 10 million job openings for the country's redundant rural labor between 2001 and 2005, according to a recently published official development plan.

The 10th Five-Year Development Plan for Township Enterprises, published in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, said that the number of employees in the country's township enterprises is expected to hit 135 million by 2005, with annual increases of 2 million.

To guarantee the steady growth of employees, the plan stated that relevant governmental departments should consolidate their input into township enterprises, while the enterprises should speed up their industrial adjustment, branch into the service sector, optimize and improve secondary industry and speed up the development of primary industry.

Currently, there is a labor pool of 470 million in rural areas, of which about 160 million are unemployed, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Over the past five years, the proportion of income drawn by farmers from township enterprises has increased 4 percent above their per capita net income.

Between 1978 and 2000, with an annual capacity of about 6 million employees, township enterprises have become a major employment option for the country's extra rural labor.

The ratio between rural residents practicing farming and those undertaking non-agricultural business was previously 9.3 to 0.7 and is now 6.1 to 3.9.

The government has mapped out development goals for township enterprises in different areas between 2001 and 2005.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, enterprises in the east which have already developed quickly should further sharpen their competitive edge by developing economies that are more tech-intensive, capital-intensive and export-oriented.

They should also strive to create more added value by improving quality of their products, using more new high technology, concentrating more on deep processing and paying more attention to electromechanical products and high-tech products, the five-year development plan said.

Meanwhile, township enterprises in the east should work to push forward the unified development of township enterprises in both central and western China.

In return, township enterprises in central and western China should take as priority economies that are labor-intensive and stress the processing of natural resources.

In addition, agricultural industrialization should be ranked high on central and western China's agenda.

(eastday.com November 13, 2001)

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