Gov­ern­ment to im­prove ‘weak links’

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUE and LYUCHANG Con­tact the writ­ers at zhangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The key to ex­pand­ing de­mands and cre­at­ing a proper con­text for China’s struc­tural re­form is to im­prove its own weak ar­eas.” Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang

Mea­sures will be put in place by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to im­prove weak links, in­clud­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, in­fra­struc­ture, ur­ban flood pre­ven­tion and boost­ing new growth en­gines to achieve more bal­anced and ef­fec­tive devel­op­ment.

The de­ci­sion was made dur­ing the State Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing on Mon­day, chaired by Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang, as he heard a re­port by the Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion on the coun­try’s ef­forts to im­prove weak links and mea­sures to be taken down the road.

“The key to ex­pand­ing de­mands and cre­at­ing a proper con­text for China’s struc­tural re­form is to im­prove its own weak ar­eas,” Li said. “China is still a de­vel­op­ing coun­try with huge devel­op­ment gaps be­tween re­gions and also be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas. We need to work hard to ex­pand ef­fec­tive in­vest­ment and make stronger ef­forts at im­prov­ing weak links.”

Im­prov­ing the coun­try’s weak links is one of the ma­jor tasks of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), and was raised dur­ing the Cen­tral Eco­nomic Con­fer­ence in Bei­jing in De­cem­ber.

Li said that re­duc­ing ex­cess ca­pac­ity, low­er­ing cor­po­rate costs and im­prov­ing weak links for bet­ter liveli­hoods of the peo­ple will be the gov­ern­ment’s core task in 2016, while main­tain­ing eco­nomic growth within a proper range. It also plays an in­dis­pens­able role in China’s struc­tural re­form.

“Cur­rently, we are still un­der pres­sure to main­tain sta­ble eco­nomic growth and cre­ate jobs, and our achieve­ments in the first half of this year did not come eas­ily,” Li said.

Hy­dro-en­gi­neer­ing and ur­ban flood pre­ven­tion in­fra­struc­ture will be en­hanced, and an­other 10 new flood pre­ven­tion projects will be started this year. A to­tal of 800 bil­lion yuan ($120 bil­lion) will be in­vested in rail­way con­struc­tion, and con­struc­tion of over 2,000 kilo­me­ters of un­der­ground pipe­line will com­mence this year. Pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties for the el­derly will also be im­proved. Fur­ther sup­port will be of­fered in de­vel­op­ing agri­cul­ture, tech­no­log­i­cal and equip­ment up­grad­ing as well as nur­tur­ing new forces to drive the econ­omy.

Also, ar­eas such as civil air­ports, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and oil-gas ex­plo­ration are to be open to pri­vate in­vestors.

Han Xiaop­ing, chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer at China En­ergy Net Con­sult­ing Co, an in­dus­try con­sul­tancy in Bei­jing, said that bring­ing in so­cial cap­i­tal benefits both State and pri­vate com­pa­nies in the field of oil and gas ex­plo­ration.

“Prof­its in pipe­line con­struc­tion are very sta­ble with long-term re­turns, so it is very at­trac­tive for pri­vately owned en­ter­prises. Once the cap­i­tal is in­jected, it will not only speed up con­struc­tion of the pipe­line net­work, but it will di­ver­sify own­er­ship and pro­mote the ef­fi­ciency of the to­tal project,” he said.

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