National auditors have called for government departments to better regulate poverty alleviation funds and build a mechanism to ensure the long-term benefits of the achievements.
Local governments have made great efforts in lifting people out of poverty in the past year, Hu Zejun, head of the National Audit Office, said while making an annual audit report to the top legislature on June 26. However, auditors had still found some irregularities, such as the improper use and management of the funds designated for poverty relief, Hu said.
For example, 46 counties were found to have spent 2.21 billion yuan ($319.6 million) of poverty alleviation funds on real estate development or urban constructions.
“We also found some funds and projects that had been planned to help the poor were actually not put in use,” she told members of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
A total of 287 poverty alleviation projects in 69 counties, involving 375 million yuan, were left idle. Another 890 million yuan of poverty relief funds in 41 regions remained unused for more than a year, according to the report.
“Corruption and fraud still exist in the poverty alleviation sector,” Hu said, adding that 187 officials in 39 counties made use of their work positions to improperly aid family relatives and friends or even embezzle the funds.
In addition, some local government officials were found doing superficial jobs, such as landscape improvement and building decoration instead of properly using the designated funds, the report said.
Forestalling and defusing major risks, carrying out targeted poverty alleviation and preventing and controlling pollution have been identified as the three major battles China must win in the coming years.
The report also identified problems that are impeding the country’s efforts in commercializing scientific and technological achievements.
Hu said auditors randomly checked 69 scientific research institutes nationwide and found 32 of them made less than 10 million yuan in commercializing their research achievements between 2015 and 2017. Twelve of these institutes did not commercialize any of their research results.
Inadequate regulations and ineffective implementation are the main reasons behind the institutions’ low success in turning academic achievements into commercial gains, she said.
Voluminous paper work and repetitive inspections are also hampering the efficiency of commercializing scientific and technological output, according to the audit report.