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Overuse of licensing may breed corruption
( 2004-01-07 00:08) (China Daily)

There are some 4,100 items that require licensing in the country, according to sources with the Legal Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee.

Overuse of licensing is a hotbed for corruption because it creates more opportunities for kickbacks, said Ying Songnian, professor and director of the Division of Law of the National School of Administration.

Over-elaborate procedures, poor efficiency, and underground, unfair or imprecise conditions for granting licences also stand out, he added.

An extreme case is the offices that were set up in Zhengzhou, a city in Central China's Henan Province, in 1998, to centralize the management of the local production of mantou, or steamed bread, the most loved staple food of local residents.

The offices controlled the licensing for every business related to steamed bread production, from flour mills to steamed bread makers. They had the power to issue or retrieve the licenses for mills that supply flour to steamed bread makers, while steamed bread makers who purchase flours from unlicensed millers would have their own licenses revoked.

The State Council began a nationwide campaign to rectify the situation in 2001. State Council commissions and ministries have given up the right to administer more than 1,000 licensing rights and have handed 82 items over to industrial associations and other intermediary agencies.

The premier said training should be enhanced among the officials to help them better understand the law and therefore better enforce it.

Vice-governors and senior officials in charge of legal affairs in all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities will attend a week-long training programme at the National School of Administration in Beijing after the conference.

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