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China to Intensify Job Creation, Social Security Work

Premier Wen Jiabao Friday pledged to intensify job creation and social security work to further improve people's lives, saying that the government's targets for 2004 are to create 9 million jobs for urban residents and get 5 million laid-off workers reemployed.

In his government work report delivered at the opening of the parliament's annual session, he said that in 2004, China will continue to follow an energetic employment policy, focusing on effectively implementing the policies of fiscal and credit support and tax cuts and exemptions.

The central government will allocate 8.3 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in this year's budget to subsidize reemployment, 3.6 billion yuan (US$0.43 billion) more than last year.

The government will expand the avenues for employment and emphasize the development of labor-intensive industries, small and medium-sized enterprises and the non-public sector of the economy, promote flexible and diverse types of employment and encourage people to find jobs on their own or become self-employed.

He called for the need to develop a fully functioning reemployment assistance mechanism, giving people with difficulties in finding jobs on their own hiring preference in non-profit undertakings funded by the government.

The government will support efforts of large and medium-sized State-owned enterprises to separate their secondary lines of business from their core business, turn their secondary lines into independent companies, and reassign their redundant personnel to these new companies, the premier said.

He said that the government will focus our support on reemployment of laid-off workers in old industrial bases, cities and industrial and mining areas whose locally available natural resources have been exhausted, and the defense industry and the coal and logging industries.

China will improve the system of employment services to provide better job training and guidance and assist people to find job opportunities.

He went on to say this year is another peak year for college graduates entering the job market and ex-servicemen being transferred to civilian jobs, so the government needs to work hard to provide them with effective employment guidance and services.

"We need to build a social security network suited to China's conditions and the level of our economic development," he said.

In 2004, the central government will allocate 77.9 billion yuan (US$9.39 billion) in subsidies for needy urban residents, up 11 percent over last year. Local governments will also spend more in this area.

He pledged to take better care of urban and rural residents with special difficulties and continue to improve the system of social relief and assistance and help those families that cannot afford medical treatment, tuition for their children, housing or heating in winter.

The government will reduce and exempt taxes in disaster- afflicted rural areas and provide relief to the affected people who have difficulties in their production and daily lives. "We will show our concern for the disabled and support programs that benefit them," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2004)

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