Streamlining administration and delegating government power to lower levels, two major measures in furthering reform and transforming government functions, continue to be among Premier Li Keqiang’s top concerns.
On Jan 4, the first State Council executive meeting of the year decided to continue to eliminate administrative approval items, approve a market supervision plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and enhance government management and service supply.
“We are now at a crucial stage in reforming government administration,” said the Premier. The government is facing more difficulties than before, when it was more clear what should be eliminated, he added.
More efforts should be made to push ahead the reform, redrawing the boundaries between government and markets. It’s the only way for the market to be given full creativity and vitality, the Premier said.
At the first executive meeting after the current government was established in March 2013, administration reform was highlighted. In the following years, streamlining administration and delegating power remained a top priority at each opening executive meeting of the year, and Premier Li was able to fulfill ahead of schedule his promise when he took office that 1,700 administrative items would be cut at least by one-third.
“Enterprises’ burden outside of taxes is too heavy mainly because of high institutional transaction costs,” said Premier Li.
He called for more efforts to expand reform in streamlining administration, eliminating approval items or shortening the approval process and cutting service fees, with the goal of reducing institutional transaction costs.
On top of the 230 administrative items that had been delegated to local government, the meeting decided to cancel another 53 administrative approval items and 20 intermediary service items.
“Legal businesses are required to go through the time-consuming approval process, and in the meantime illegal ones are selling their shoddy products on the market. So the government should first understand market entities’ needs before it can better transform its function and optimize services,” said the Premier.
“Delegating power and enforcing regulations should be promoted and furthered with continuous efforts,” stressed Premier Li. He also urged attaching great importance to market supervision, striking a balance between the government and the market.
According to the meeting, China will soon issue its first guideline on market supervision geared toward a market environment offering easier access, platform for fair competition, and greater consumer safety.
Supervision must be carried out in a lawful and well-regulated manner, so that companies won’t be subjected to extra burdens, especially unnamed fees, Premier Li said.
Premier Li said departments at the grassroots level should be able to carry out comprehensive and fair law enforcement, relieving the burden for market entities and people.
“We should continue to increase administrative reform, including delegating power, strengthening regulation and optimizing services, since it is the key to transforming government’s function. And the reform will both stimulate enterprises’ vitality and benefit the people,” said the Premier.