Business / Policy Watch

Three-year cut reported in spending

By CAO YIN (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-30 02:15

The central government has spent less on its daily operations for three successive years, according to the National Audit Office on Wednesday.

The anti-corruption campaign, launched more than three years ago, has resulted in reduced spending by government officials on overseas travel, the use of office cars and entertaining guests — known as the "three public expenses".

This is according to the office's annual report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top lawmaking body.

The audit report said a general improvement was seen in the way budgeted spending was compiled by 42 departments and their 241 subordinate bodies under the State Council.

The report said budgeted spending on the "three public expenses" fell by 11.7 percent last year from the previous year.

This was after the same types of spending fell by 27 percent in 2014 and by 11 percent in 2013, when measured against actual spending.

The report also said there was a sharp decline in the illegal use of public funds. However, Liu Jiayi, China's auditor general, said there were still breaches of clean-government rules.

Spending on purchases of official cars exceeded the budget in 20 government bodies, involving 6.23 million yuan ($937,615).

Three offices supervised by the Ministry of Land and Resources overshot their budgets by 1.26 million yuan, while two bodies with the Ministry of Civil Affairs overspent by 598,000 yuan.

On overseas travel, four central government departments and 11 subordinate bodies were more than 3.84 million yuan over budget, including 1.14 million yuan by the China Banking Regulatory Commission and 924,600 yuan by the All-China Women's Federation.

The General Administration of Customs and the Cultural Palace of Nationalities overspent on receptions, the report said.

Many of the problems reported are being corrected by government bodies, Liu told national lawmakers.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance who specializes in public management and anti-graft studies, said improved central government budgetary discipline is largely due to increasingly rigorous efforts in the anti-corruption campaign.

"But it's still not good enough," he said, adding that the public will need more detailed reports about the use of the government budget.

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