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More eased fiscal policy needed, Premier says

Zhao Yinan
Updated: Mar 8,2015 3:26 PM

Premier Li Keqiang joins discussion with National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from Sichuan province in Beijing on March 8.[Photo by Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]

China will adopt a more eased fiscal policy than what is being proposed in the latest Government Work Report to help withstand downward economic pressure in the year ahead, Premier Li Keqiang said on March 8.

The extra fiscal spending will be allocated to local governments which are proactive at work, especially in terms of driving up economic development, Li said during a panel discussion with National People’s Congress deputies from Sichuan province.

The budget deficit is set to widen to 1.62 trillion yuan ($258.5 billion), an increase of 270 billion yuan over last year or about 2.3 percent of GDP, the widest since 2009, as Li pointed out in the Government Work Report on March 5.

But he conceded that the funds carried over from last year totaled more than 1 trillion yuan, which were not spent because a number of local governments neglected their duties, resulting in many investment projects being halted.

“The funds were allocated, projects were approved and land was supplied, but the money is not being spent. Why? Some officials are holding onto their jobs while failing to fulfill their responsibilities,” Li said.