Central gov't departments fail to disclose expenses

08:13, July 08, 2011      

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Almost all China's central government departments, excluding the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), failed to publish their expenses for "overseas trips, vehicles and receptions" by the end of June, a deadline set by the State Council, or cabinet.

The central government's "opaque" spending has exacerbated public concerns about potential corruption and extravagancy on the part of officials.

Since May, the State Council has repeatedly called on its ministries to reduce "squandering practices" and make their fiscal information public in more areas and "provide greater details," especially regarding using funds for the "three public consumptions" -- overseas travel, receptions and official cars, since excessive expenditures on the three items have long been criticized as "sources of corruption and waste."

However, only the MST echoed the central government's call to keep people informed about how public funds are spent, with other central departments citing "technical problems," which many netizens dismissed as an "excuse."

The MST published its 2011 budget in April, with detailed explanations to address public concerns on the "three public consumptions," on which the budget says the ministry plans to spend about 40.2 million yuan (6.18 million U.S. dollars).

Further, the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), a major government think tank, joined the MST in publishing its 2010 expenditures on the three items as well as its 2011 budget for overseas travels, on the academy's website Wednesday afternoon.

Although its published 2011 budget did not cover all three items and came late, the disclosure was still "a positive response" to the central government's directive, a senior CAE official told Xinhua on Thursday.

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Source: Xinhua
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