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China urges local govts to deepen fiscal reforms amid slowing revenue

Updated: Apr 29,2015 8:26 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The Ministry of Finance on April 28 urged local authorities to advance fiscal and tax reforms as fiscal revenue had slowed, which would negatively impact on achieving the 2015 development target.

The ministry asked local authorities to implement the roadmap and timetable for deepening fiscal reforms, further cut administrative approvals and spend unused fiscal funds.

They were also told to speed up local government debt issuance, innovate management of fiscal funds and accelerate expenditure.

The ministry highlighted the yawning gap between fiscal revenue and expenditure, urging local governments to strengthen tax collection.

Fiscal revenue rose 5.8 percent year on year to reach 1.07 trillion yuan ($174 billion) in March, while national fiscal spending expanded 4.4 percent from a year ago to 1.4 trillion yuan.

The economy grew 7 percent year on year in the first quarter, the lowest quarterly growth rate since 2009.

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at the opening of the annual parliamentary session, stressed that proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy in 2015 would deliver the economic target of around 7-percent growth.

The government plans to raise China’s budget deficit to 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015, up from last year’s target of 2.1 percent.

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