Central gov't departments spend 60 pct of budget on vehicles: report

16:33, July 28, 2011      

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Central government departments spent a great deal of their money on vehicle purchases and maintenance last year, underlining the slow progress China has made in reforming its central government departments' spending habits, the Economic Information Daily said Thursday.

As of Tuesday, 86 central government departments have disclosed their expenditures on vehicle purchases and maintenance, overseas trips and official receptions in 2010. Expenditures on vehicles amounted to 3.92 billion yuan (about 608.34 million U.S. dollars), accounting for 61.3 percent of the total amount spent by the departments on the three items, the report said.

The same departments have budgeted 3.79 billion yuan, or 60.5 percent of the total, for vehicle purchases and maintenance this year, the report said.

"Why are expenses on vehicle purchases and maintenance universally high among these government departments? It is possibly a systemic problem," the report cited Chen Ningyuan, an independent observer, as saying.

The government previously attempted to launch spending reforms in 1994 in order to regulate the purchase and usage of government vehicles, according to the report. However, the actual number of vehicles owned and used by the government remains unknown.

"Local authorities were the main drivers for previous reforms, which resulted in a lack of momentum. This pattern will meet more challenges in the future," Zhou Tianyong, a professor with the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was quoted as saying in the report.

"The difficulty of reform lies in the design of the reform mechanism.

Openness and transparency in the implementation and design of reforms are the keys to success," Jiang Wei, a professor with the Beijing Administrative College under the Beijing Municipal Government, said in the report.

The central government started publicizing its budgets for vehicle purchases and maintenance, overseas trips and official receptions this year as part of its efforts to improve transparency.

Central government expenditures on the three items, referred to by some as the "three public consumptions," have long been viewed as the main source of government corruption and waste.

Source: Xinhua
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