Business / Economy

Leaders target ongoing bureaucratic inaction

By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-24 07:52

The central government vowed to make stronger efforts to counter local bureaucratic inaction and resistance in helping the economy meet this year's growth targets and transition to a consumer-driven growth model.

In an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday, the State Council, or Cabinet, said it had spotted many problems in local governments, particularly in their lackluster implementation of the central government's policies to speed up reform and growth.

Those problems, the meeting found, include unspent money, delayed public projects, idle land in areas designated for development and slow progress in rebuilding shantytowns-all impeding Beijing's ambition to achieve its GDP growth target this year.

Some initial battles have been won, Council members found, after the central government reported at the end of August that it had recovered 307.5 billion yuan ($48.2 billion) in unspent funds and 200,000 hectares of idle land from the control of central and local-level government offices.

More than 200 officials will be held accountable for their inaction, the State Council said, and 59 officials already have been.

Officials who avoid their duty must be made to change their approach. All subordinate and local government entities must carry out the central government's policies "like military orders" and must meet the annual growth targets of the local economies, according to a State Council statement.

The terms reflected Beijing's increasing concern over officials who are failing to carry out pro-growth and reforms initiatives in an efficient and timely manner. Some just keep their heads down to stay out of trouble in the ongoing anti-graft campaign led by President Xi Jinping, numerous analysts have said, reflecting sentiments expressed earlier by the premier.

"Since early last year, the administration has been openly criticizing local officials who are standing in the way of stabilizing growth and reform," said Zhang Bin, a researcher with the National Academy of Economic Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Wednesday's meeting "showed some early outcomes of the central government's clampdown on this and should ring the alarm bell for the rest of the officials", Zhang said.

The cabinet also announced other measures, both reform initiatives and investment directives.

The catalog of government price controls was streamlined to seven categories from the previous 13. The number of products and services priced by the government was cut to 20 from the previous 100.

The cabinet also urged acceleration of urban parking lots and charging spots for electric cars.

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