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Govt to ban illegal charges, clear channels for direct fiscal support

Updated: Jul 24,2020 10:27 AM    english.www.gov.cn

Harming the interests of market entities through illegal charges to ease local governments' fiscal pressure from tax and fee reduction policies will not be tolerated, Premier Li Keqiang said at the State Council’s third work conference on clean governance on July 23.

China is home to hundreds of millions of market entities that underpin efforts to stabilize employment and safeguard people’s livelihoods, the Premier said.

To help them survive and thrive in this difficult time, governments at all levels should fully deliver the tax and fee cuts, aimed at reducing corporate burdens by over 2.5 trillion yuan ($357 billion) this year, Premier Li said.

He urged more simplified and transparent procedures to offer eligible enterprises easier access to application-based policies.

Financial institutions such as banks should also play a part in supporting businesses, the Premier said.

That means more support for struggling enterprises, especially micro, small and medium-sized firms and self-employed businesses, when issuing new loans, and sacrificing 1.5 trillion yuan in their profits this year as promised.

Meanwhile, efforts are needed to push for lower charges and prices in some industries featuring natural monopoly to bring down production and operation costs, and regulate fee collection, especially arbitrary charges, by groups such as industry associations and intermediary agencies.

Government departments should also take the lead in making any late payments to private companies and small and medium-sized ones within a set time limit, the Premier added.

While talking about the special transfer payment mechanism for newly added fiscal funds of 2 trillion yuan ($285 billion), Premier Li said the new funds, consisting of 1 trillion yuan in increased fiscal deficit and another 1 trillion yuan in government bonds for COVID-19 control, are part of a special move at a special time.

He stressed that the funds should all go straight to local governments to secure employment, people’s livelihoods and market entities.

The mechanism is reform aimed at preventing the funds from being used without purpose, and reducing corruption risks, among others, Premier Li said.

Provincial authorities are responsible for transferring the funds from central government to cities and counties, and helping them make up gaps between revenue and expenditures, he said.

City and county governments should create real-name accounts and use the funds as required to truly benefit enterprises and people in need, he stressed.

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