Government entities need to strengthen their ability to supervise the market as administrative approval responsibilities are trimmed back, according to a survey commissioned by the general office of the State Council.
In June, a team from the Chinese Academy of Governance launched the survey to assess the central government’s ongoing efforts to streamline administrative approval procedures.
Team members visited 20 ministerial-level government departments and more than 30 cities and counties in 11 provinces and municipalities, and they interviewed many people, including government officials and company leaders.
“We were a neutral and independent team, given that we neither make the policies nor implement them,” said Wang Manchuan, a professor at the academy who took part.
The survey found that some governmental departments lack the capability－because of insufficient staffing or skills－to supervise the market, Wang said.
“As the administrative procedures are streamlined, fewer approvals are needed for a company to gain access to the market. Therefore, more companies enter the market. This means a significant increase in the government’s supervisory workload,” he said.
But the necessary supervisory skills may be in short supply, he added. “Many government officials are used to sitting in the office and signing papers applying for administrative approvals, and they lack the ability to supervise the market.”
Reform of the administrative approval system means “more responsibility and less power” for the government, Wang said.
Sun Xiaoli, another professor at the academy who participated in the survey, said the government should learn to take advantage of various parties, including companies, industry associations and mass media, to help manage the market.
“It needs to utilize all these powers instead of struggling to supervise the market all by itself,” she said.
Since March 2013, the central government has canceled or delegated to lower-level governments 463 administrative approvals, Wang said.
“The government has been doing a good job in terms of numbers,” Sun said, referring to the canceled or delegated items. But it should do more to get rid of burdensome administrative approvals whose cancellation would benefit a lot of people and help boost the economy, she added.