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Urban renovations to aid economic growth

Hou Liqiang
Updated: Jul 22,2020 07:53 AM    China Daily

The central authorities' ambitious plan to complete government-subsidized renovations in all the country's aging urban residential communities by the end of 2025 is expected to play a key role in stabilizing investment growth, officials said.

According to a guideline unveiled by the State Council on July 20, the country will endeavor to renovate all aging urban residential communities, primarily those built before 2000, by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

There are about 220,000 such communities across the country, which are home to 39 million households, Vice-Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Huang Yan said at a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on July 21.

Since late 2012, government-subsidized housing projects, including shantytown renovations and public rental housing, have played an important role in improving people's livelihood and stabilizing economic growth, said Liu Shihu, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission.

Guided by funds from central and local governments, the total investment in these projects has surpassed 10 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion), he added.

"The renovation of the aging residential communities will also play an effective role in driving investment," he said.

Aside from direct investment in the renovations, the project is expected to boost the development of both upstream and downstream industries. With the improvement of the living environment in their communities, residents will be more proactive in increasing their spending on interior decoration and home appliances, he continued.

Per the guideline, the renovation will be subsidized by the central government, and residents and companies involved will also contribute their share.

Following the principle that whoever benefits from the renovation should invest, residents can pay themselves, use the public housing maintenance fund or transfer public income in their residential communities to investors to contribute. Market forces will also be encouraged to participate in renovation projects, it said.

On July 17, China Development Bank and China Construction Bank signed cooperation agreements on renovating aging residential communities with five provincial regions, including Jilin and Shandong provinces, and nine cities in other regions.

The two banks will provide 436 billion yuan in loans to support market forces in their participation of the renovations in these regions and cities, according to the ministry.

According to the guideline, 39,000 of the communities will be renovated this year, benefiting about 7 million households.

Liu, the NDRC official, said 54.3 billion yuan has been dispatched from the central government's budget fund to local governments for this year's renovations.

The fund from the central government will prioritize infrastructure including roads, water supply and drainage facilities and services for the aged and children, he said.

In communities where conditions permit, elevators will be installed, according to the guideline.

In March last year, Premier Li Keqiang said in the Government Work Report that authorities would support the renovation of old urban residential communities across the country.

On June 19 of the same year, Premier Li presided over an executive meeting of the State Council, China's Cabinet, that called for the work to be accelerated.