Policy aims to link growth with reform, says chief economist
The 80 infrastructure investment projects announced by the government are not a short-term stimulus package, a senior economist said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the State Council decided to launch the projects to experiment with public-private partnership funding, with wider access opening to private and overseas investors.
The new investment projects are expected to boost the economy, which has been slowing down since last year.
Fan Jianping, chief economist with the government think-tank State Information Center, said the government doesn't intend to dole out financial stimulus even if the current slowdown continues into the second quarter.
The 80 projects are aimed at opening up industries dominated by State-owned enterprises and inviting more competition from private capital, Fan said.
"Of course, these initiatives, if implemented well, could be conductive to growth. But their primary goal is reform," he said at a news briefing.
Fan said the public and media have failed to understand the macroeconomic policy adopted by the new leadership, which focuses on linking growth with reform and restructuring, instead of easing monetary and fiscal policies.
"The old way could boost the economy for a short time, but with abundant side effects. The new way takes a longer time to see its effect, but it is more sustainable," he said.
China's GDP growth in the first quarter slowed to a six-quarter low of 7.4 percent, prompting debate on whether government should roll out stimulus measures.
But so far, government officials have been at ease with the slowdown, saying employment and income growth have not been affected.
Li Pumin, spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission, reiterated that growth in the first quarter was within a "reasonable range" and the government is in no hurry to announce any stimulus.