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2004 budget set, 11.6% increase in defense
Updated: 2004-03-06 10:26

China's expenditures for national defense will rise by 21.83 billion yuan, 11.6 per cent more than last year, Finance Minister said Saturday in a budget report to lawmakers.

The minister told the annual session of the national legislature that the increase is aimed to improve the defensive combat readiness of the armed forces under hi-tech conditions and to raise the salaries of army personnel and the pensions for ex-servicemen.

Jin's budget report also includes a 7-percent increase in the central budget revenue in 2004.

Total revenue in the central budget is 1.3819 trillion yuan, an increase of 90.7 billion yuan or 7 percent over 2003, and expenditures in the central budget total 1.7017 trillion yuan, a rise of 90.7 billion yuan or 5.6 percent, leaving a deficit of 319. 8 billion yuan, Jin said.

Although the 2004 budget deficit is the same as for 2003, it drops to 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), or 0.4 percentage points less than the 2.9 percent for 2003.

The central budget funds for bond-financed projects in 2004 total 110 billion yuan, 30 billion yuan less than last year. This total includes 95 billion yuan listed in the central budget and 15 billion yuan to be issued by the central government for local governments.

The value of treasury bonds to be issued in 2004 totals 70 2.2 billion yuan, the minister said when talking about the draft central and local budgets for this year.

Jin said total revenue in the draft central and local budgets is 2.357 trillion yuan, 187.9 billion yuan or 8.7 percent more than in 2003, and total expenditures amount to 2.6768 trillion yuan, an increase of 216.1 billion yuan or 8.8 percent.

The deficit in the central budget for 2004 remains the same as in 2003, said Jin.

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