Business / Economy

Spending reduced in three key areas

By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-20 09:18

Spending by the central government on overseas visits, car purchases and public receptions last year was 943 million yuan ($146 million) less than budgeted at the start of the year after the authorities pledged not to increase outlays in these categories.

Ministries and affiliated public agencies spent 5.37 billion yuan on foreign trips, cars and receptions (widely known in China as sangong expenditure), compared with a budgeted 6.31 billion yuan, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

Spending on public receptions saw the largest cut of 377 million yuan, while outlays on car purchases and operations were reduced by 371 million yuan.

As the central government is making consistent efforts to cut sangong spending, the budgeted sangong spending this year is down by 6 million yuan compared with the 2015 budget.

The ministry said it has a good reason to keep budgeted spending at 6.31 billion yuan this year, even though last year's actual spending (5.37 billion yuan) was almost 1 billion yuan under budget.

Sangong spending has been squeezed for several years, it said, and in order to maintain normal government operations, it is necessary to keep this year's budget almost unchanged.

"It is OK as long as the budget does not exceed that of last year," the ministry said in a statement. "And the sangong budget is the upper limit. Each department should spend its money strictly within the range allowed."

Sangong spending has been under strict scrutiny since 2009, amid public anger over alleged budgetary abuse by officials. Since that year, such spending has had to be reported separately.

Ina sign of increased budget transparency, 100 central-level departments have released their budgets for this year.

The National Development and Reform Commission, an economic planning agency with sprawling departments and agencies, has budgeted 44 million yuan for sangong spending-8.5 million yuan more than last year, making it one of the few ministries to see such an increase.

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