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'Speed of essence' for stimulus plan
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Nearly a quarter of the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package announced on Sunday will come directly from the central government's coffers, according to sources close to top decision-makers.

The central government will spend 1.18 trillion yuan over the next two years on projects in 10 key sectors, including housing for low-income families, rural infrastructure, roads, airports, water, electricity, the environment and technological innovation.

The remainder of the investment will come from provincial and local governments, as well as the public and private sectors.

"The government intends to shore up confidence and take quick action," a central government official told China Daily Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

It is estimated that around 600-700 billion yuan of the package will be used to construct new infrastructure projects or speed up existing ones. The rest of the money will be spent on building homes for low-income families, as well as promoting energy-efficiency and emission-control projects.

The official said the central government has yet to decide how much money will be spent on specific sectors, but central and provincial government officials are expected to draw up more detailed plans at next month's annual Central Economic Work Conference.

For the last fifty days of this year, China's central government has already decided to spend an additional 100 billion yuan on infrastructure and other projects, with a further 20 billion yuan going to post-quake recovery.

A spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission pointed out that money from the stimulus package will not be used to develop high-emission or energy-intensive projects.

He added that the government will work hard to ensure the money is spent properly and prevent corruption.

"Swift and forceful action is the central government's top priority amid the unfolding global financial crisis," said the official. He said the government has urged officials nationwide not to "waste a single minute" in implementing the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package.

Shaking off the danger of excessive economic slowdown was already high on the government's economic agenda prior to the announcement of the stimulus package.

Speaking on Monday at a conference of top officials convened by the State Council, Premier Wen Jiabao said: "In expanding investment, we must be fast, effective and forceful. We must focus on priorities and adopt a down-to-earth attitude to implement the measures."

"It's about shoring up confidence," said the official. "And it is my firm belief that quick measures can deliver speedy results."

(China Daily November 12, 2008)

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