Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Holding officials to account for failures in housing

Updated: 2014-01-07 18:28

The government should implement a strict system of accountability to ensure officials and departments are held responsible for failed public policies that affect people’s livelihoods, says an article in the Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts below:

In early 2013, governments at various levels vowed to establish an accountability system for the officials and departments in charge of stabilizing local housing prices.

The annual prices of homes in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen rose by 20 percent year-on-year in 2013. And the housing prices in the other 26 major cities in China increased by more than 10 percent.

But the government is keeping silent over the rapid increases in prices. The governments have issued several rounds of macro-control policies to curb the rapid increases, but these policies have been seen to fail over the past year.

Due to the lack of an accountability system, those responsible for making and implementing the failed housing price control policies will probably not be punished for their failures. Yet, if the housing prices had remained stable over the past year, they might well have boasted of their achievements.

The questions around the creation and implementation of public policy go beyond mere transparency. In order to encourage civil servants to take their jobs seriously and better serve the people, the government must clarify how the accountability system works.

As for the housing market, the local governments should take the blame for boosting housing prices through their overwhelming reliance on the revenue from land transfers.

Statistics show that land revenue accounts for about 50 percent of government revenue this year. Thus, the people have good reason to question the feasibility of the government’s policies to cool down the real estate market.

At the same time, the government should pay more attention to building enough government-subsided housing for people on low incomes.