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Priorities in govt work report assigned

Updated: Mar 25,2021 21:37

The State Council issued a circular on March 25 assigning key tasks set out in the Government Work Report to provincial-level governments, as well as bodies under the State Council.

Efforts are required to attain main targets for this year to consolidate the foundation for economic recovery and maintain sustainable and healthy social and economic development.

They include achieving GDP growth of over 6 percent, creating more than 11 million new urban jobs, reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by around 3 percent, and keeping grain output above 650 million metric tons.

To coordinate COVID-19 prevention and control with economic and social advances, regular anti-epidemic measures should be combined with local emergency responses, vaccine research and development and free immunization drives.

The circular stressed maintaining the continuity, stability and sustainability of macro policies which should address difficulties of market entities to underpin economic fundamentals and stabilize market expectations.

Among them are proactive fiscal policies, with fiscal expenditures giving a priority to safeguarding employment, people’s livelihoods and market entities, and the regular mechanism of directly-channeled fiscal funds should be established and expanded to cover 2.8 trillion yuan in central government funding. The deficit-to-GDP ratio for the year is set at around 3.2 percent, and no COVID-19 bonds will be issued.

Tax reduction involves continued efforts to implement systematic tax cut policies, extend the duration of several temporary policies such as VAT relief for small-scale taxpayers, and introduce new structural tax reduction policies.

Prudent monetary policy should be flexible and targeted, with efforts going into maintaining reasonable and sufficient liquidity, as well as generally stable macro leverage ratio and RMB exchange rates.

The monetary policy also should help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises solve their financing issues, by extending the move of postponing the principal and interest repayments of inclusive loans to micro and small-sized enterprises and stepping up inclusive finance via e-lending and rediscount programs.

To bolster the employment-first policy, fiscal, taxation and financial support should continue to benefit enterprises without or with fewer layoffs to help steady the current jobs, the role of business startups harnessed in boosting employment, and large-scale, multi-level occupational skill training launched. Other efforts include completing the goals of the three-year initiative on providing vocational skill training and expanding enrollment in vocational colleges.

Reforms in key fields should go ahead to stimulate the vitality of market players.

They involve further transforming government functions, with the market playing a decisive role in allocating resources, market access expanded and the property rights of various market entities getting equal protection.

To better streamline administration, effective supervision should be in place with improved system of inter-agency regulation, coordination mechanism for sharing government data, and building of a digital government.

The reform of basic sectors such as energy, transportation and telecommunications should be advanced to provide more efficient services and reduce charges. And intermediary agencies should be urged to make public their terms of service, procedures, timeframes and charges.

The common development of enterprises under diverse forms of ownership should be promoted, with moves to continue to practice and improve the basic socialist economic system.

The circular also stressed deepening reforms of the fiscal, taxation and financial systems, featuring greater budget transparency and streamlined procedures for accessing preferential tax and fee policies. The reform plan for defining the respective fiscal powers and expenditure responsibilities of central and local governments should be implemented.

To enhance scientific and technological innovation, the nation will improve its strategic scientific and technological strength, continue to build national laboratories and improve the layout of science and technology programs and innovation centers.

According to the circular, scientific and technological innovations will be fully applied in the real economy, and the role of innovation will be better leveraged in driving development.

China will ensure the stable operation of industrial and supply chains and continue to cut overcapacity, reduce excess housing inventory, deleverage, lower costs and strengthen areas of weakness.

To expand domestic demand and tap the potential of the domestic market, personal incomes will be increased through multiple channels, networks for the flow of goods and services in urban and rural areas will be improved and rural e-commerce and express delivery services will be expanded to spur greater consumption at the county and township levels.

This year, 3.65 trillion yuan of local government special-purpose bonds will be issued, and support for the construction of major projects for coordinated development among regions will be continued.

The rural revitalization strategy will be implemented across the board. For counties lifted out of poverty, major assistance policies will remain unchanged in the following five-year transition period.

The country will also enhance the ability to ensure the supply of food and major agricultural products and strengthen the protection and use of germplasm resources.

At the same time, working and living conditions in rural areas will be improved and rural land contract relationships will remain unchanged over the long term.

To promote the steady growth of imports and exports, the government will increase credit support to small and medium foreign trade firms and expand the coverage of export credit insurance.

Foreign investment will be more effectively used and the negative list for foreign investment will be further streamlined.

In addition, China will open the service sector in a well-regulated way and formulate a negative list for cross-border trade in services.

Shared consultation, construction and benefits should be held in the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, the circular stated, and major cooperation projects and infrastructure interconnection will be promoted with robust and diversified investment and financing system.

Meanwhile, the nation will deepen bilateral, multilateral and regional economic cooperation, and open wider in more fields and at deeper levels.

To that end, work will be done to promote early implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and the signing of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, and accelerate China's free trade negotiations with Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The nation will also actively consider joining the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ecological environment management is a key task this year. To prevent air pollution, clean energy will reach 70 percent for winter heating in northern areas, and sorting of domestic waste will be promoted in cities and counties in an orderly manner.

This year, China will work out its action plan to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and optimize its industrial and energy structures. The clean use of coal and nuclear power will also be promoted.

In the education sector, equality and high quality are highlighted. Compulsory education should be evenly distributed in high quality, with urban and rural areas all in the picture, and enrollment rate of kindergartens will be further raised.

Construction of the healthcare system will receive more support, and major projects will be implemented to boost development of traditional Chinese medicines.

Government subsidies for basic medical insurance for rural and non-working urban residents will increase by an average of 30 yuan per person, and subsidies for basic public health services will increase by 5 yuan per person.

To meet people's housing needs, the government will keep the prices of land and housing as well as market expectations stable, make every effort to address the housing difficulties faced by our people, especially new urban residents and young people.

This year, the government will continue to increase the basic pension for retirees and the subsidies and living allowances for entitled groups, advance trials of long-term care insurance, and promote diversified community services, including elderly care, day care, dining and cleaning.

The governance and service systems for urban and rural communities will be improved with more progress in emergency rescue capacity and disaster prevention.

Tasks on ethnic, religious and overseas Chinese affairs and national defense were also specified in the circular.