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Official says measures to boost private investment "have worked"

(Xinhua)

08:38, August 08, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese official who regulates investment activities in the country said Tuesday the government's measures encouraging private funds to enter more sectors have worked and helped stabilize investment growth this year.

The official remarks of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, came as the Chinese government works to stabilize economic growth through swifter approvals of investment projects in the world's second-largest economy.

"Those measures encouraging private capital to enter fields such as oil and gas exploration and education have been playing an active role since the beginning of this year," said the official, citing the heavier weighting of private funds in the country's overall financial input.

He declined to be named, as many economists and private entrepreneurs complain that more has to be done to allow private funds easier and wider access to more sectors.

Fixed-asset private investment in China rose 25.8 percent year on year to 9.37 trillion yuan (1.48 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first six months of 2012, accounting for 62.2 percent of the country's total investment, which expanded 20.4 percent in the first half, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the official, private investment in the oil and gas exploration, education and health sectors surged 89.2 percent, 40.2 percent and 43.1 percent, respectively, in the first half of this year.

The small quantity of private funds in those sectors also helped yield rapid growth, since such fields used to be dominated by state-owned capital, he said.

Earlier in June, the NDRC and the Ministry of Finance issued a joint statement vowing to treat government funds and private capital equally in order to create a better business environment for private entrepreneurs.

The Chinese economy expanded only 7.8 percent year on year in the first half of this year, marking the slowest pace in three years and creating substantial pressure for the government to stabilize growth.

The Chinese central government issued a 36-article statement in 2010 to boost private investment, encouraging and guiding private capital into heavily state-controlled and -monopolized sectors and industries.

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