Shanghai tightens controls on licensing
Shanghai municipal government Wednesday announced the number of local administrative licences will soon be trimmed by around 50 per cent in preparation for implementation of the Law on Administrative Licensing, which takes effect on July 1.
Of the 217 administrative licences set by laws and local governmental regulations, "around half of them'' will be cancelled, said Jiao Yang, a spokesperson for the Shanghai municipal government.
"Such a ratio is fairly high across the country,'' Jiao said Wednesday.
Shanghai government will take the opportunity to further strengthen its service functions in the market economy environment, said Jiao.
Administrative licensing, which refers to formal legal permission to conduct business or business-related activities, is a major governmental function exercised by authorities at all levels.
Over the years, however, hazardous expansion of licensing items, over-elaborate procedures, poor efficiency, and under-the-table deals for granting licences have seriously infringed upon the rights and interests of individuals and corporations.
The Law on Administrative Licensing, which was passed by the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress last August, confines the power of establishing administrative licensing procedures to the governments at central and provincial levels. It also forbids unnecessary administrative licensing and simplifies procedures for acquiring licences.
Shanghai authorities have pledged to give priority to market competition and hand more power to industry associations and other intermediary agencies in terms of measuring licensing issues.
The city government will also closely follow up the central government's decision to phase out some national administrative licences.
Currently, over 1,000 procedures requiring State-level administrative licences are being implemented in the city, according to Jiao.
In another development, the Shanghai government is demonstrating more vigilance for addressing the concerns of rural workers in the city.
"By the end of 2005, Shanghai will basically help clear up back payments for rural labourers on construction projects,'' Jiao said.
A detailed scheme has been approved by the city government, under which Vice-Mayor Yang Xiong will lead a special office for dealing with the matter, said Jiao.
Under the scheme, Shanghai authorities will regularly publicize the names of construction companies that deny or delay salary payment to rural construction workers.
The names of offending companies will also be filed with the local land approval authority and financial institutions, said Jiao.
In addition, the city government is preparing a mechanism to ensure the payment of rural workers through social insurance networks over the next three years.