Over the past week, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Finance have answered a number of questions regarding public concern in areas such as employment, reducing the price for anti-cancer drugs as well as public-private partnership projects.
Employment data sees good start for first quarter
China’s employment situation progressed steadily in the first quarter of 2018, a senior official said.
Lu Aihong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told a news briefing on the country’s first quarter economic performance on April 27 that more than 3.3 million new jobs were created in urban areas during the first three months of the year.
“The ratio of job seekers to job demand has reached 1.23, showing a strong market demand for workers,” he added.
Sound macroeconomic development contributed to the good performance in the first quarter, he said.
Yet the employment situation this year is still challenging and complex, he said.
The employment priority strategy and pro-active employment policy will be continuously implemented, he added.
Prices for cancer-fighting drugs cut to help patients
China is working to reduce the prices of anti-cancer drugs and the financial burden facing patients, health officials said on April 28.
Zeng Yixin, vice-director of the National Health Commission, told a news conference that drug prices will be reduced through centralized negotiations and procurement.
Chen Jinfu, head of the medical insurance department of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said that last year the government reached agreements with pharmaceutical enterprises on the prices of 36 cancer medicines on the medical insurance list. He said the prices of these drugs have been marked down by 44 percent on average.
The government will work to include more anti-neoplastic drugs into the country’s catalog of medical insurance reimbursement, which already incorporates most of the relevant drugs.
The average approval time for imported drugs has been significantly shortened, and the customs clearance procedures streamlined, said Li Jinju, an official with China Food and Drug Administration.
The Ministry of Finance announced on April 23 that China will exempt 28 drugs from import tariffs, including all cancer-treating drugs beginning on May 1, as part of a wider opening of the market.
Partnerships to give tourism sector more support
China will improve services for tourists through public-private partnerships (PPP), the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Finance said as they issued a guideline on April 25.
The PPPs, collaborative projects between government and private companies, will give priority to support national tourism projects and poverty-alleviation through tourism.
In February, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published details of PPP projects with a total investment of 760 billion yuan ($125 billion), the fourth round of such investment since 2014.
Social media to help ensure regular pollution monitoring
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will carry out regular compliance inspections to ensure the second national census on sources of pollution will be properly carried out, MEE officials announced during a teleconference on April 25.
WeChat groups will be created both at national and provincial levels to facilitate work. Pilot surveys need to be concluded by the end of June, while the first round of census will be conducted from August to November. Results will be released in 2019. The census aiming to map out sources of pollution is essential to economic and environmental policymaking, the central government said previously.
About 9 million pollution sources around the country are expected to be surveyed, the ministry announced. The last major survey was done 10 years ago.
According to the reshuffled Ministry of Ecology and Environment, its budget rose by more than 70 percent over its predecessor in the last year, reaching almost 12.2 billion yuan ($1.9 billion).
The budget for pollution control has more than doubled to 500 million yuan, and more than 70 percent will be used for the latest national census, the ministry said.