The performance of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in 2001 is far better than that in 2000, despite a 1.4-percent drop in profits, top economic official Li Rongrong said on Friday.
Though the profit figure is lower than the goal set for last year, the result is "very satisfactory," the minister in charge of the State Economic and Trade Commission said at a press conference given by the Fifth Session of the Ninth National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
He pointed to the fact that the result was achieved against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown in 2001, when the global trade volume and investment declined by 12 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Three-fourth of the countries in the world reported decrease in domestic gross product (GDP) values and 12 countries were having a depression in 2001, he said.
"Against such a backdrop, the SOEs have managed to retain their performance level. This is not simple," Li said.
The minister attributed the SOEs' profit drop, which stood at 6.2 billion yuan, partly to increased spending on compensation for job cuts.
For example, the China National Petrochemical Co. and the China National Petroleum Co. alone spent 41 billion yuan on compensation for 600,000 shed jobs, to improve their long-term competitive edge, he said.
The coal-mining sector also reported improved performance in 2001. It not only paid off all the salary in arrears, but also paid an additional two billion yuan for salary hikes, in addition to a spending of three billion on safety facilities.
"In fact, the performance of the SOEs in term of labor efficiency, per capita profit and tax far beat that in 2000," Li said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2002)