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Biz survey: Gov't needs to improve
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-20 06:34

Nearly half of all entrepreneurs are unhappy with the low efficiency and bureaucratic nature of civil servants at various levels, a survey has found.

Almost half of the business leaders surveyed said the government could improve in several areas even though the country has made progress in reshaping its market-orientated economy.

"It seems that the government has just started to change its role, but it has a long way to go to meet our expectations," the respondents said in the survey, conducted during the first quarter by the China Enterprises Confederation. A total of 1,065 entrepreneurs and managers participated.

Nearly 60 per cent of the entrepreneurs who responded said the government's attempt to change its role should become a "top priority and pressing task" in China's continuing reform efforts.

Under the planned economy, governments at all levels acted not only as service providers but also business investors and managers. After embarking on market-orientated reforms, the government should gradually exit from economic activities and strengthen its responsibilities in creating a sound and fair environment for business competition, experts say.

Despite the urgency, more than half of the respondents rated the performances by civil servants and the government in decision-making and administrative efficiency as "unsatisfactory" or "just-so-so."

"Government reform has become a hard nut for China's reform process to crack, and it's crucial for the country to further invigorate its business investment and development climate," the confederation concluded.

As to the measures intended to improve the government's performance, about 65 per cent of respondents said that a system to punish those civil officials who fail to measure up should be established immediately.

Half of the respondents said the government needs to improve its transparency.

Nearly half also suggested that the system to evaluate the government and officials' performance should be reformed. Among the factors the group said should be involved in the evaluation are social security, education, health and environmental protection.

Currently, the performance of the governments, especially those at provincial and county levels, is based on gross domestic product.

Researchers said the survey has identified barriers that have hampered the development of the business environment.

"The reform can not only change the role of government but can also help improve the performance of enterprises with better service offered by civil servants," said Lin Yueqin, a researcher on economics.

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