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Construction payment in arrears accumulates to 336.6b yuan
( 2004-01-14 01:07) (Xinhua)

China is seeing increasing cases of overdue payment in the construction field, with the current payment in arrears totaling 336.6 billion yuan (US$41 billion).

Minister of Construction Wang Guangtao said at a national construction conference in Beijing Tuesday that the sum is equal to about one-fifth of the country's annual construction output.

Wang said that among the total overdue payment, about 39.6 percent was the fault of the housing developers, and 26.7 percent was delayed by the government.

"Finding a solution to the overdue payment issue in the construction field is the top thing for us to do in 2004," said Wang.

The huge sum of delayed payment in the construction field accounts for one major part of the total payment overdue to migrant workers. Statistics show that there are about 30 million migrant workers working in construction, about one-third of the country's total rural workers in cities.

From the end of 2003, China launched nationwide actions to help migrant workers get their overdue wages. And the State Council also issued a notice urging to solve the issue of overdue payment.

Early this month, Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan urged local governments to further regulate the construction market and ensure the recovery of the overdue payment for migrant workers.

Statistics show that by the Jan. 6, 2004, about 5.7 billion yuan of the overdue payment of 2003 had been paid back to the migrant workers across the country, about 44.11 percent the total overdue in 2003.

The Ministry of Construction will take further steps to ensure the migrant workers get their payment prior to the approaching Chinese Lunar New Year which falls on Jan. 22 said Wang.

According to Wang, the ministry will also work with other governmental departments to set up a long-term mechanism for resolving the issue of overdue payment.

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