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Private sector gets greater market say

Xu Wei
Updated: Sep 24,2019 10:38 AM    China Daily

Opinions, measures and strategies should be sought from business leaders, according to new published guideline

The central government's decision to enable greater participation from entrepreneurs on policymaking will help stabilize market expectations and bolster the private sector, analysts said.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, said on Sept 17 that it has published a new guideline on the establishment of a government mechanism to solicit opinions from entrepreneurs before major decisions are made on economic policies.

Authorities must take into account the voice of business leaders during the making of policies that directly affect the interests, or the production and operations, of businesses, said the guideline. It also called for authorities to seek opinions from entrepreneurs for major strategies, plans and policies in social and economic development.

Bai Zhili, an analyst with the Institute of State Governance Studies at Peking University, said the new guideline is part of efforts by authorities to improve administrative services and enable better policymaking.

"Faced with the mounting downward pressure of the economy, it is important for the government to shore up the confidence of entrepreneurs. To enable their further participation in policy making will help ease their worries," he said.

Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the NDRC, cited problems such as lack of research, inadequacies in pooling opinions and lack of coordination in the making of some policies related to businesses.

The problems have affected the production, operation and expectations of some businesses, rendering the policies less effective than expected, she told a news conference on Sept 18.

"Enabling participation from entrepreneurs can further refine the transmission mechanism of policies at both macro-and micro-levels, and thus make the policies more down to earth and carried out more precisely," she said.

She noted that the NDRC has also called for authorities to take further initiatives to improve services to businesses and the market, and form a new type of cordial and clean relationship between government and business.

The NDRC said in a statement after the release of the guideline that it has pooled the opinions of over 1,600 business leaders and 45 central government departments during the guideline's drafting process, and it has prioritized efforts to seek advice from private business leaders.

The guideline called for authorities to invite experts and representatives from business leaders to take part in the drafting process of policies that are relatively professional and directly affect the interests of businesses.

The selection of business representatives must cover businesses of various ownership types, different scales and from different sectors.

In seeking opinions from entrepreneurs, authorities must employ multiple platforms, such as website portals, online administrative platforms and service windows, to solicit opinion within a reasonable time period, the guideline said.

It also required better use of the national administrative service platform to enable interaction and feedback.

For policy adjustments that could increase corporate costs and affect production and operations, authorities must set up a buffer period after adequately taking into account voices from businesses. For policy adjustments that cause damage to the legitimate interest of businesses, authorities must come up with compensation in keeping with laws and regulations, the guideline added.

Bai said authorities should expand the mechanism of opinion seeking to cover other reforms, such as administrative reform, to make their voices better heard.

It is also important for governments at various levels to establish a fixed mechanism to ensure participation especially from private business leaders, he said.

Jia Xijin, an associate professor on civil society and public policy at Tsinghua University, said whether the new guideline can see better results will depend on a number of factors. "On a cognitive level, it is important for authorities to realize that the participation from entrepreneurs is part of their inherent rights, rather than seeking it as a measure to enable better results of policies."

It is also important to ensure adequate protection and open channels for entrepreneurs and industry associations to voice their proposals and publish their research over certain policies, she said.

She also highlighted the importance of an open mechanism that can provide feedback and emergency relief measures to businesses.