A mobile phone message appeared on the big screen in front of Premier Li Keqiang, showing a message about VAT reform forwarded from Finance Minister Lou Jiwei to Wang Jianfan, director of the tax policy department at the Ministry of Finance. Lou asked Wang to respond to the message as soon as possible, as it showed a misunderstanding of the reform. The message was sent at 12:30 am.
“I saw this in the morning and started tracking and responding at once,” Wang told the Premier.
“Good job!” Premier Li said. “It is high time for VAT reform, we should be well prepared to respond to people’s concerns.”
During Premier Li’s inspection at the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on April 1, Wang said that four WeChat groups of staff members at finance and taxation departments were set up and divided into regions. Every group has more than 100 members, tracking locals’ response to the reform. Officers at MOF will give responses and advice accordingly.
“It is important that we not only give explanations to common questions, but also respond to individual cases,” the Premier said. “We should eliminate people’s misunderstandings to ensure the reform is being promoted smoothly.”
In addition to the four groups, WeChat groups were also set up to deal with the press and to work within the ministry, Wang said. The former can be used to release official information and answer questions, while the latter can be used to arrange work.
“We call it Internet Plus VAT reform,” Wang said.
“This is a good way,” said the Premier. “We can all use this to respond to people’s concerns when we release policies later.”
Premier Li has stressed many times since the beginning of 2016 that officials of the State Council should actively respond to public opinions. During the inspection on April 1, he stressed this again, “It is an important feature of the current government. It can also guarantee the successful implementation of reform and policies.”