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English>>China Politics

Xinhua Insight: China vows further gov't reform for economic vitality

By Li Laifang and Xu Yang (Xinhua)    15:03, March 06, 2015
Chinese PremierLi Keqiang delivers the government work report during the opening meeting of the third session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2015. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

BEIJING, March 6 -- China will do more to streamline administration and delegate more powers to lower-level governments and society while improving regulations this year, Premier Li Keqiangsaid on Thursday.

"This year, we will delegate the power or cancel the requirement for government review for more items, cancel all non-administrative reviews and establish a system for exercising well-regulated management over the government review process," Li said while delivering a government work report to the Third Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), the national legislature.

Government at all levels needs to adopt effective ways to streamline administration, delegate powers and transform their functions, creating an enabling environment for enterprises, said the report, adding "cuts to government power will be made to boost market vitality".

Streamlining administration has been one of China's reform priorities over the past two years. The reform has been pushed by a long-term and common complaint among citizens that it is difficult and time-consuming to deal with bureaucratic administrators when investors, for example, seek approvals for launching businesses.

In 2014, departments under the State Council, the country's Cabinet, canceled the requirement of, or delegated the power for, review on 246 items.

Since then change has taken place. The new policies were felt by Liu Ying, an accountant of a private firm in Tiexi District, Shenyang City in northeast China's Liaoning Province.

"I used to have to go to several offices in different floors of the same building for official stamps for invoices or tax declaration affairs. It took me time and I often met snooty clerks," she said.

"The procedures were much simplified last year and I can have all the business done at one place and the clerks have become friendly," said Liu, adding "the change is really great".

The central government has canceled or delegated power to lower-level governments for more than 500 administrative review items, about a third of the total, since it took office in March 2013. Its a big step in helping realize the premier's promise made at the beginning of his first five-year term.

Streamlining power is one of the ways to improve government efficiency and boost economic vitality amid the country's economic slowdown.

The world's second largest economy slowed to a 24-year-low of 7.4 percent in 2014. Its growth target for 2015 is around 7 percent, Li said on Thursday.

So far the the measure has been effective in boosting the economy.

Thanks to a new business registration policy which took effect in March last year,the number of newly founded companies in China surged almost 46 percent year on year to 3.65 million in 2014, with their total registered capital hitting 19.05 trillion yuan (3.11 trillion U.S. dollars), up 99 percent, official data showed.

But problems remain in administration reform. Some government departments retain certain vital powers or have superficially canceled some approval items but still kept them in other forms, said Xu Yaotong, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

The government has achieved its target in terms of quantity.The power streamlining should shift from the "quantity phase" to the "quality phase" , said Xu.

A negative list for market access will be drawn up and provincial-level governments will make their lists of powers and responsibilities open to the public, according to the premier.

These lists will be the focus of the administration reform this year, but they are arduous tasks, said Xu.

The potential and quality of streamlining both need to be improved, said Sun Yinhuan, member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body.

The streamlining moves should be further detailed, suggested Geng Hongchen, an NPC deputy and chairman of Northern Heavy Industries Group in Liaoning Province.

Differences regarding the scopes and standards of power streamlining exist in some places, said Yan Jirong, a political professor at Peking University.

To achieve the medium-high level, innovation-driven growth, the country must turn to reforms for economic vitality and new drivers, he said.

The government should continue to implement the reforms and take new moves to strengthen assessment so as to ensure the quality and effects of reforms, said Xu.

The public have much higher expectations of government reforms, said Xu, adding only more substantial reforms can make they feel themselves real beneficiaries.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Kong Defang,Liang Jun)

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