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China Voice: Tightened gov't spending critical to improving public services

Source:   Time:

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- China is trying various ways to build a frugal government, which is needed for the present and upcoming economic situation, and critical to improving public services.

The latest effort to cut government spending was announced on Saturday by the State Council, which issued an emergent notice to all departments in all areas of the country urging them to examine all government building projects.

The move comes after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference following the conclusion of the annual session of China's legislature in March, that within his tenure, the government will not use public coffers to construct new offices, halls or guest houses for government use.

Li also ensured that the number of government employees, spending on official hospitality, overseas trips for official purposes and purchases of official vehicles will be reduced.

The move is part of the country's recent comprehensive efforts to cut spending and build a service-oriented government.

In December, at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, participants approved regulations making explicit requirements on how Political Bureau members should improve their work style, focusing on rejecting extravagance and reducing bureaucratic visits.

The regulations were fully welcomed by the public and later followed by subordinate departments throughout the country, having a serious impact on sales of luxury goods and upscale restaurants.P The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the party, said in a commentary published on Monday that tightened government spending is due to the end of the over two-decade supercharged growth of China's fiscal revenue, and the unfavorable economic situations both domestically and internationally.

The fiscal spending as a share of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the Chinese government is getting close to that of some moderately developed countries, so it is necessary to take the share under control, said the commentary, adding that China should draw lessons from some countries' overspending.

Furthermore, the country is facing an arduous task in reforms of various sectors concerning people's livelihood, which requires quite a lot budget.

With the money saved, the government can improve its public service in social security, public health care, environmental improvement, and other sectors that the people need the most and remedy social conflicts that can undermine stability.

After decades of economic boom, the country is improving these systems so that to let more people enjoy the dividends of the reform and opening up policy. However, in a situation where the growth of fiscal revenue slows down, reducing unnecessary expenditure is an effective way to fund those efforts in the long term.

As Li stressed at the press conference in March, "if the people are to live a good life, their government must be put on a tight budget."

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