Premier Li eyes preferential policies to support business
Updated: February 19, 2020 17:06

Premier Li Keqiang, at an executive meeting on Feb 18, said that employment is the most pressing matter against the backdrop of full-sail epidemic control and economic and social development.

Stable employment comes down to stable enterprises, the Premier said, and preferential policies should have immediate effect to support enterprises, especially mid-size, small and micro businesses, to help them through difficulties.

It was decided at the meeting that enterprises will enjoy periodic deduction or exemption from social security fees and deferred payment of housing provident funds.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, Premier Li said, many domestic enterprises are suffering from production interruptions, affecting employment and incomes. Medium, small and micro enterprises, owing to their inability to tackle risks, need government support to survive the current hardships. They play a key role in employment, and their stability means employment stability, he added.

Periodic deductions and exemptions should be introduced in endowment insurance, and unemployment and work-related injury insurance payment, in a bid to allow enterprises a buffer period, Premier Li said.

According to the Premier, employment should remain a first-order priority in maintaining stability in the six key areas, which are, employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectation.

Every effort must be made to prevent massive lay-offs, and local governments must help keep employment stable, he said.

Premier Li stressed the introduction of scientific and practical production resumption tips,help local governments set standards for production resumption, and cancel gratuitous deposits. Meanwhile, preferential finance and tax policies call for prompt implementation.

It was decided at the meeting that small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible for a waiver in contributions from February to June in provinces other than Hubei. Large companies will see their contributions halved from February to April.

Companies across Hubei that are in the insurance plans will be exempted from contributions from February to June.

Before the end of June, companies may also apply to defer their payments to the housing provident fund. Failure by employees to repay their housing provident fund loans due to the epidemic will not be treated as a default.

The Premier said that full consideration was given to the sustainability of the social security fund when drawing up the policies, the balance of which is sufficient to support the full and timely payments of old-age pensions and other social security benefits nationwide.

Individual businesses have an important role in job creation, and they support as many as 200 million jobs. The government must swiftly work out supporting policies to help them survive as much as possible, the Premier said.

According to the meeting, except for regions hit hard by the outbreak and high-risk areas, unwarranted restrictions that make it hard for employees to get back to work must be resolutely reversed. Rural migrant workers will receive support in finding jobs in their hometowns or nearby cities under the existing programs of poverty eradication and local development.

Plans for extending the timeline for graduate recruitment will be promptly worked out, and enterprises will be supported in adding flexible jobs to meet the online consumer demand.

The unemployment insurance fund should be tapped into to issue allowances to the jobless. Pension payments must also be met on time and in full, and regions severely plagued by coronavirus should see more public service or welfare jobs provided by local governments.

Unemployment insurance fund should be distributed to unemployed people in a timely manner to cover their living expenses before they secure new jobs, Premier Li said.

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