Despite the global economic downturn, the start of 2009 has been good for northeast China's Jilin province as it continued on its path of brisk economic expansion.
The province's major economic indicators in the first quarter showed more rapid growth than the national average, according to statistics from the provincial government.
Local industries had a year-on-year increase of 10.1 percent in value-added output during the period, contributing significantly to the more than 9 percent year-on-year growth in the province's gross domestic product.
The figures show initiatives by the central and local governments to stimulate economic growth and combat the worldwide economic slowdown have been effective, said Han Changfu, governor of the province.
"Now we have seen a nationwide economic upturn, with bolstered confidence in entrepreneurs and rising demand in the market," Han said.
"Yet the global economic climate has not showed a marked improvement, so we still face pressure from the downturn, which requires intensified efforts to ensure continued growth in the provincial economy," he said, adding that the second quarter of this year is crucial to the campaign.
Han listed the following priorities for his government in the quarter:
Spring is a prime season for construction, the governor said, noting that projects delayed or halted by winter weather should start or resume as soon as possible.
He encouraged local authorities to enhance coordination and overhaul procedures to facilitate the projects' progress.
Infrastructure and grain farming projects should be a focus of the authorities, he noted.
"We will enhance monitoring and checks to ensure the quality of projects under construction," he said.
Meanwhile, his government will continue efforts in securing more investment, he vowed.
Quality of life
The governor said the current trend is to stimulate domestic demand and drive economic growth through end-user consumption.
"So we need to restructure our economy, adjusting the industrial and product lineup to meet the trend, and advance government-funded initiatives for expanding sales of home appliances, agricultural equipment and automobiles in the countryside," Han said.
"We attach significance to the combination of improving the quality of life for residents and stimulating domestic consumption," he said.
Han added that his government will pay more attention to projects closely related to locals' lives like low-income housing, employment, education, healthcare and clean water.
Farming is again a focus of the rural economy this quarter, Han said. As one of the country's biggest grain producers, the province boasts vast farming fields.
The authorities will extend support policies, enhance management of water resources to fight spring droughts and monitor distribution of agricultural materials to ensure spring farming will go smoothly, the governor said.
With backdrop of swine flu concerns, the local government lists steady supply of healthy pork and control of animal epidemics as keys to maintaining the stability of the agricultural economy.
The authorities will also increase efforts creating jobs for surplus rural labor and support business startups by farmers who before migrated to cities for work and have now returned home due to impacts from worldwide economic meltdown.
"We will grasp the opportunity to encourage industrial upgrades," Han said.
The authorities will advance key industrial technological innovation projects and support backbone enterprises to expand production and explore markets, he added.
Accelerating urban expansion and construction of county-level industrial zones are important areas for growth, the governor noted.
The authorities will address financing difficulties that have long troubled small and middle enterprises (SMEs) and spur growth of private sector, Han said.
Service industries, tourism, culture and hi-tech will also receive support from the government.
The government will encourage bankers to increase lending in a bid to spur growth of the local economy, Han said.
Resolving the SME capital shortage and county economies are of particular significance as they are crucial to driving economic growth, he stressed
"Through innovation of financial organizations, we will launch pilot projects such as village and town banks as well as micro-credit firms."
Reforms and opening-up
Han said his government will further reforms of State-owned enterprises, forest farms, rural areas, medicine distribution and the healthcare system.
"We will track projects that have already signed and continue to attract new investment," he said.
In addition, the authorities will ramp up in preparation for the fifth Northeast Asia Investment and Trade Expo, the sixth Changchun International Automobile Expo and the eighth International Agricultural and Food Expo.
Han vowed that his government will overhaul administrative procedures to improve service efficiency and quality through inspection on special projects and performance appraisals.
Various governmental departments should coordinate closely to make sure that projects progress smoothly, he said.
At the same time, the authorities will also pay close attention to safety of production, food and medicine and address locals' major concerns, Han said.
Source: China Daily