City vehicle budget 'on road to more transparency'

08:53, March 17, 2011      

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The capital's municipal government will spend about 40 million yuan ($6.1 million) on new official vehicles this year, Beijing News reported on Wednesday.

In addition, the municipal government's departments will use about 58 million yuan of public money this year on business trips, conferences and domestic or overseas training, said the paper, which quoted budget plans made public by the local government departments on Tuesday.

All 58 local government departments and their affiliated units in Beijing had been required by the city to reveal their budget plans for this year ahead of March 10, the city's finance department had said earlier.

As of Tuesday, 57 departments - with the public security bureau the only exception because of national security concerns - had released their budget plans, the report said.

The departments' revelations were more transparent than those of last year because they were required for the first time to release details about expenditures in the budgets.

But only some of the departments reported their budgets in full detail, according to the paper.

An analysis conducted by the paper showed that 22 departments, including the city's education commission, construction commission and its health bureau, made it clear that they will spend more than 40 million yuan on renewing or purchasing official vehicles this year.

The vehicles will include passenger cars, pickup trucks and other vehicles for official use.

However, the budget plans did not provide details about the expected expenditure on fuel and maintenance. The number of official vehicles used by the departments was also not published.

A total of 24 departments, including the education commission and the work safety bureau, planned to spend more than 58 million yuan on conferences, training and overseas business trips.

"These departments have taken the lead in revealing their budgets in detail," said Zhu Lijia, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

"The other departments should follow suit and not try to hide the detailed expenditures because complete transparency is expected from them by the public."

In January, the municipal government of Beijing ordered that any of its departments should not increase their expenditure on official vehicles, official receptions and overseas business trips this year from the level a year ago.

Earlier this month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also asked in his government work report for central government departments to avoid any increase in such expenditures in a bid to save public funds and prevent possible corruption.

Source: China Daily
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