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Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government
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We need to concentrate on the following nine tasks this year:

1. Improving macroeconomic regulation to maintain fast yet steady economic development.

In view of the current domestic and international economic situation we need to follow a prudent fiscal policy and a tight monetary policy this year to accomplish the tasks for macroeconomic regulation.

Continuing to follow a prudent fiscal policy means that we must ensure the continuity and consistency of fiscal policy, get public finance to fully play its important role in promoting structural adjustment and balanced development, and increase expenditures to shore up weak links, improve people's lives and deepen reform. In addition, we need to further reduce the budget deficit and the volume of long-term development treasury bonds. The deficit for the central government budget this year is set at 180 billion yuan, 65 billion yuan less than last year. We plan to issue 30 billion yuan of treasury bonds for investment, 20 billion yuan less than last year, and increase allocations from the central government budget for general development, bringing total central government investment in development projects up to 152.1 billion yuan. We will continue to adjust the structure of government spending and investment by greatly increasing spending on agriculture, rural areas and farmers, the social safety net, medical and health care, education, culture, energy conservation and emissions reduction, and construction of low-rent housing. We will work hard to increase revenue and reduce expenditures, tighten tax collection and management in accordance with the law, improve management of non-tax revenue, and control regular expenditures. We need to reform the management of government investment to improve the performance of investments.

Government revenue surplus must be used wisely. Total government revenue exceeded the targeted figure by more than 723.9 billion yuan last year, including 416.8 billion yuan in the central government budget. Surplus revenue should be concentrated on solving problems that have a direct bearing on people's lives, making institutional and structural improvements and strengthening weak links. Spending on the following items will be increased in accordance with the law: rebates on the consumption tax and value-added tax and general transfer payments to local governments; agriculture, forestry, water conservancy projects, education, culture, science, the social safety net, medical and health care, legal aid, construction of low-rent housing, energy conservation, emissions reduction and environmental protection; and resolution of debts for rural compulsory education, debts of state-owned grain enterprises and other long-overdue payments. In addition, the budget deficit should be reduced by 45 billion yuan and the central budget stability and regulation fund should be increased by 103.2 billion yuan.

The decision to follow a tight monetary policy was based on the following considerations: the strong possibility of a resurgence in fixed asset investment, continued excessive supplies of money and credit, the still-unsolved problem of excess liquidity, and considerable inflationary pressure. For these reasons, we must improve financial regulation to control the excessively rapid growth in the supplies of money and credit.

First, we will step up efforts to curb excess liquidity by using a combination of open market operations and the required deposit reserve ratio. We will make appropriate use of the lever of interest rates. We will improve the RMB exchange rate regime to make the exchange rate more flexible.

Second, with the focus on improving the credit structure, we will strictly follow requirements for granting loans and guarantee some loans while restricting others. We will limit the increase in long- and medium-term loans, particularly to enterprises that are energy intensive or highly polluting and enterprises in industries with excess production capacity. We will make innovations and improvements in bank credit services, improve the systems of guarantees and interest discounts, and increase credit support for agriculture, rural areas, farmers, service industries, small and medium-sized enterprises, independent innovation, energy conservation, environmental protection, and balancing regional development.

Third, we will deepen reform of the foreign exchange administration system. We will improve the system for foreign exchange settlements and sales and payments in foreign exchange, tighten oversight on the flow of capital across borders, and move steadily toward making the RMB convertible for capital accounts. We will develop new channels and means for using foreign exchange reserves. Comprehensive measures will be adopted to improve the balance of payments.

One major task for macroeconomic regulation this year is to prevent the overall price level from rising rapidly. To fulfill this task, we must take powerful measures to increase effective supply while curbing excessive demand.

First, we must expand production, especially the production of the basic necessities of life such as grain, vegetable oil and meat as well as other commodities in short supply. We must also earnestly implement policies and measures designed to support production and ensure coordination in the production, transport and sale of products.

Second, we must strictly control industrial use of grain and grain exports. The reckless expansion of the capacity for intensive corn processing and construction work on such projects that violate regulations must be stopped.

Third, we need to speed up improvement of the reserve system, improve methods for adjusting reserves and import and export volumes, and appropriately increase imports of major consumer goods that are in short supply on the domestic market.

Fourth, we need to ensure that the timing and the size of government adjustments to prices are appropriate, and necessary adjustment of prices of resource products and public services should also be strictly controlled to prevent waves of price increases.

Fifth, we need to improve the early-warning system to monitor supply and demand and price changes of principal agricultural products and primary products, and put in place a plan for responding to drastic changes in market supply and demand and prices.

Sixth, we must strengthen market and price oversight and pay close attention to the oversight and inspection of prices and charges related to education, medical care, drugs, agricultural supplies, agriculture, rural areas and farmers. Illegal activities such as colluding or hoarding to drive up prices will be punished in accordance with the law.

Seventh, we need to promptly improve and implement measures to aid the low-income sector of the population. In particular, we need to increase subsidies to poor people and students from poor families to ensure that their basic living standards do not drop because of price increases.

Eighth, we must work to make sure that the prices of the means of production, particularly agricultural supplies, do not rise rapidly.

Ninth, we will continue to implement the system of provincial governors assuming responsibility for the "rice bag" (grain supply) program and city mayors for the "vegetable basket" (nonstaple food supply) program.

Governments at all levels must give high priority to keeping prices stable because price stability has a direct bearing on the quality of people's lives. The country currently has an adequate stock of grain, and the supply of major manufactured consumer goods exceeds demand. We can ensure adequate supply in the market and basic price stability as long as governments at all levels work to improve their leadership, diligently implement all policies and measures, and mount a concerted effort from the highest to the lowest level.

The recent disaster resulting from snow and ice storms caused significant losses to China's economy and made life very difficult for disaster victims. We will continue the work of repairing the damage and minimizing losses from the disaster. Affected infrastructure will be promptly repaired, with the focus on restoring power grids. Agricultural production will be resumed as soon as possible. We will closely coordinate supplies of coal, electricity, petroleum and transportation to help disaster victims get back on their feet. In addition, we will learn from this large-scale natural disaster. We must accelerate development of infrastructure, including electricity, transportation and communications, to improve its capacity to resist disasters and maintain normal operations. We must improve the systems and mechanisms for responding to disasters to increase our ability to prevent and handle emergencies. We must step up research to better understand the features and patterns of natural disasters under modern conditions and improve our ability to prevent and mitigate them.

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