Shanghai, with the approval of the State Council, is preparing to restructure its government agencies to link up with the newly adjusted central government structure, according to a municipal working conference at the weekend.
The restructuring of the Shanghai municipal government system will be the first scheme to reform any Chinese regional government since the latest round of adjustments of State Council organizations earlier this year. It will focus on macroeconomic control, market regulation, and the administration of social services, in accordance with Shanghai's status as a large metropolis, said sources at the conference.
Under the scheme, Shanghai will establish the Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. The commission will be directly under the municipal government and will be responsible for better managing the city's massive amount of State property.
Strengthening the management of State assets is "the most important task" in the new round of municipal government restructuring, Party Secretary Chen Liangyu of Shanghai told the conference.
The Shanghai Development Planning Commission, a key department in charge of macroeconomic planning, will merge with the Shanghai Economic Mechanism Reform Office to become the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, in an effort to improve the system of macroeconomic control.
Similarly, Shanghai will set up a new Shanghai Economic Commission by merging the original Shanghai Commercial Commission and Shanghai Economic Commission.
Unlike the new State Council structure, Shanghai will maintain its foreign-trade and investment watchdogs - the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Commission and the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Investment Commission - to accord with the city's status as a national center for international economic exchanges.
On the basis of the original Shanghai Drug Administration Bureau, a new Shanghai Food and Drug Administration Bureau will be set up in accordance with the State Council's new operation.
In addition, the city's government will upgrade the administrative level of its workplace safety supervision office and its information technology office to enhance the government's involvement in those two areas.
Under the new scheme, the Shanghai municipal government will have 45 departments, last weekend's conference heard.
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng told the conference that the reform, which is regarded as the municipal government's key task for the remainder of this year, will hopefully further simplify the municipal government structure and make it more efficient and transparent in line with international practices in public administration.
In addition, the restructuring of the municipal government aims to further reduce overlapping among its sub-departments, while strengthening administrative collaboration between different government bodies, according to Han.
Party Secretary Chen said local Party organizations will also undergo adjustment along with the government restructuring.
(China Daily August 4, 2003)