Ma: Create more jobs, expand spending
China will in 2004 implement a proactive employment policy, and continue to expand consumer spending and improve people's lives, the country's top legislature was told Saturday.
Ma Kai, minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks in his report to the legislature on the implementation of the 2003 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the 2004 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development.
"We will further implement existing measures such as fiscal and credit support and tax and fee cuts and exemptions and do everything possible to create more jobs."
The minister said China will give full play to the role of labor-intensive industries, small and medium-sized enterprises and non-public sectors of the economy in expanding employment.
China will vigorously develop the tertiary industry and expand avenues for employment in traditional service industries such as business, food and beverage service and transportation.
He promised to create more jobs in the areas of public health, urban
environmental protection, medical care, as well as community and domestic
services, and expand employment in tourism, education, training, culture, sports
and information services.
He noted that China will improve the employment service system, strengthen the reemployment assistance system and provide better job training, job introduction and employment guidance services to laid-off workers and the unemployed, and work harder at job placement for college graduates and ex-servicemen.
"We will improve the consumer environment, expand consumer spending and gradually increase the proportion of consumption in our GDP." he said.
He said China will improve the social assistance system, provide subsistence allowances to the urban poor and help needy urban families solve their practical problems, and increase the supply of low- and moderate-price commercial housing, stimulate the secondary housing market and expand consumer spending on housing.
China will steadily increase consumer spending on private cars and communications, and will encourage people to spend more on travel, sports, fitness and culture.
The minister said China will accelerate the development of the credit system and develop consumer credit, combine efforts to expand consumption with those to strengthen regulation of income distribution, and raise the minimum wage appropriately to increase the incomes of urban residents, especially low- and middle-income people.
China needs to strengthen supervision over income distribution in monopoly industries and intensify collection and management of individual income tax to regulate excessively high incomes, said the minister.
He said the central government will focus on increasing funding to solve the problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers and to support employment work, social security, education, science, culture and health. We must ensure that government employees' salaries and government retirees' pensions are paid on time and in full, and that state organs receive the funding necessary for their normal operations.
Ma noted that China will continue to have zero growth in our general expenditures as total national revenue in the budget for 2004 stands at 2.357 trillion yuan, and total expenditures are 2.6768 trillion yuan.
That keeps the central government budget deficit within 319.8 billion yuan,
said the minister.