BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang announced that the transformation of government functions is the first task for the newly-elected State Council, China’s cabinet, but warned that it is an “arduous” task.
Li made the remarks at the first plenary meeting of the new cabinet on March 20, which marked the official start of the central government’s new term in performing its duty.
He asked all departments to act conscientiously to achieve various goals for transforming government functions within the time limit, urging them not to be superficial in the reform by only “changing the liquid but not the drugs.”
While enhancing administration at the macro level, government departments should let go of micro administrative matters and let the market or society decide, Li said.
Li, however, ordered enhanced supervision on projects that have already been approved.
Transforming government functions will be a “great remedy” for promoting non-government investment and employment, as well as for improving companies’ competitiveness and boosting economic and social vitality, he said.
During the meeting, Li also highlighted other major economic and social development tasks for the State Council in the coming years.
To yield “an updated version of China’s economy,” the government should continue to develop the economy, maintain steady growth, curb inflation, control risks and push the economic transformation toward higher quality and efficiency in growth, Li said.
In the meantime, the government will strengthen the social security net to safeguard the basic livelihood of the people and offer them assurance in starting businesses or pursuing work, according to Li.
In addition, Li pledged to promote social justice and introduce mechanisms to provide equal opportunities for every individual or corporate citizen to engage in fair competition and development.
He also defined the work style during the new term as innovative, frugal and in accordance with the rule of law.
To facilitate reforms, institutional innovations within each department should be pushed forward, said Li, vowing to implement the promised frugal and clean work style.
Moreover, administrative power should be executed in line with the law, while policies and rules that go against the principle of scientific development or impair social justice should be revoked, the premier stressed.
Li proposed a list guidelines for governments at all levels to follow to meet these goals.
Li ordered ministries to put the interests of the country, the nation and the public ahead of their own.
He also called for enhanced coordination between the central government and local authorities, as well as the resolute implementation of decisions made by the central government.
To give people hope, governments at all levels should focus on resolving issues that concern the public most, said Li.
He emphasized the role of institutional build-up and called for long-term mechanisms regarding future requirements and public supervision over government spending.
More resources should be allocated to develop mechanisms and enhance efficiency, said Li, adding that the governments should honor their commitments in order to boost their credibility with the public.