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China fast-tracks efforts to cut administrative procedures

Updated: Jun 24,2015 5:18 PM

Xiao Lian, an accountant in Jinan, East China’s Shandong province, found out earlier this year that she no longer had to pay an annual fee of 120 yuan to the local human resources service bureau to keep her file.

On Jan 1, the country canceled the fees human resources service centers charge for storing files of people who work for companies that are unable to keep the files of their employees. It also canceled the fees that they charge for access to the profiles and transferring the files.

China is fast-tracking efforts to streamline administrative approval procedures, and the task of reviewing and cutting administrative fees - such as the charges for keeping employees’ files - is an important part of these efforts.

“Small and medium-sized enterprises are a main force in creating jobs, but many of them don’t meet the requirements for keeping their employees’ files. The fact that the authorities can now provide a service of keeping files free of charge will help relieve the burden on employers and employees - and thus boost the healthy development of the human resource market,” said Hu Yijian, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

The central government has abolished or reduced 420 administrative fees and government funds, which means that the burden on enterprises and individuals has been reduced by 92 billion yuan every year.

In 2014, the authorities at the provincial level canceled more than 600 administrative fees.

However, unreasonable or illegal charges are still prevalent in some regions.

The chief financial officer of a company in Guangdong said his company has to pay a few hundred thousand yuan of membership a year to some guilds, so as to not lose its right to help make decisions on industrial policies and standards.

Dai Baihua, a senior official at the Ministry of Finance, said guilds are not allowed to “concoct fees” or raise the fees they charge, and they must “certainly not force enterprises to become members.”

In order to handle the situation, the State Council decided to launch a campaign in April to review and prevent illegal administrative fees - so as to ease the burden on enterprises and boost the real economy.

Dai said that the Ministry of Finance has worked with other ministries and departments, and formulated a plan to regulate the charging of administrative fees.

Ministries and departments under the central government will review all the administrative fees they charge, including those charged by their affiliated institutions or guilds - and they will submit their reports by the end of July. The Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission will examine the reports, and announce their decisions concerning which fees to keep and which to abolish.

The authorities at the provincial level must publish their reviews of the administrative fees they charge, their decisions on how to streamline these fees - and also a list of the administrative fees they decide to keep.