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Auditor vows to closely monitor stimulus projects

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-27 08:11

The auditing watchdog will investigate projects backed by the 4-trillion-yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package this year to ensure the money is properly used.

The National Audit Office will monitor projects to ensure they adhere to the central government's industrial policies and are of sound quality, the office's department of fixed-asset investment auditing chief Pan Xiaojun said.

A worker measures steel bars at the construction site of Xiluodu Hydropower Project, the largest hydropower station after the Three Gorges Project, in Sichuan province's Yongshan on March 22. Slated for completion in 2015, the project has an installed capacity of 12.6 million kW. [Pu Chao/China Daily]

It will also make sure projects' funds are used appropriately, he added.

Since the central government unveiled the 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package last November to boost domestic consumption as exports fell, many local governments rushed to apply for new investment projects, resulting in public concerns about the funds' use.

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Because the stimulus funds are crucial to the central government's 8-percent economic growth target for 2009, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to let auditors work on any project for which stimulus money had been invested.

Wen made the remarks in his government report delivered at the opening of the 2nd session of the 11th National People's Congress earlier this month.

Auditor-General Liu Jiayi said his office would stress the auditing of stimulus funds used for major projects pertaining to livelihoods, infrastructure and environment.

A major task for the office is monitoring local governments' construction and maintenance of water reservoirs.

The central government has planned to eradicate the dangers posed by 6,240 unsound reservoirs before 2010.

To this end, it will invest 27.7 billion yuan, with local governments contributing an additional 23.3 billion yuan.

Auditors have found some local governments have inflated their reservoir projects' costs to get more central government funding, Pan said.

While some local governments have exaggerated their problems, Pan's department has found more than 100 reservoirs in dire disrepair but not included in the plan.

The National Audit Office will report to the central government, because structurally unsound reservoirs could endanger people in the lower reaches if their walls were to burst, Pan said.

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