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Premier Li Keqiang Chairs Video Symposium on New Fiscal Funds to Benefit Businesses and People
2020/06/02

On 1 June, Li Keqiang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Premier of the State Council, chaired a video symposium in Qingdao during his inspection tour to Shandong on measures to ensure that increase in fiscal funds will directly benefit businesses and the people.

Li said that to ensure the six priorities where stability is key and the six where protections are needed, the two trillion yuan of fiscal funds will be made available by raising the budget deficit and issuing government bonds for COVID-19 control, as set out in the Government Work Report adopted at the NPC Session. He highlighted this measure as an important part of the policies of a sizable scale to provide relief to businesses and revitalize the market, with a particular focus on protecting employment, people's basic living needs and market entities. As an extraordinary measure for an unusual time and a creative way of macro regulation, the funds will go straight to prefecture and county governments and directly benefit businesses and the people. Priority will be given to supporting businesses and leveraging the role of the market in keeping economic fundamentals stable.

Li noted that micro, small, and medium enterprises and self-employed individuals, low-income groups including rural migrant workers, workers in flexible employment and in the general service sector, and vulnerable groups including the poor, the unemployed and people living on subsistence allowance and provisional relief have been hit harder by COVID-19. There are hundreds of millions of them. To ensure they receive the greater benefit of the funds, a special transfer payment mechanism will be set up and refined. No such funds will be withheld by provincial governments so that prefecture and county governments can access and appropriate the money as quickly as possible. The finance departments must follow through on the instructions of ensuring employment, people's livelihood and the development of market entities by putting in place well-targeted supporting policies and clarifying the scope of use for the funds.

Li stressed that rigorous oversight mechanisms should be established to ensure the effective use of the funds. Finance departments should create logs on the use of the special bonds for COVID-19 control and ensure that each item of expenditure is accounted for. Treasuries at all levels should allocate funds directly to the recipients and match all payments with real-name records. Auditing departments should make use of the new funds as the priority of their auditing work. All relevant agencies must keep their eyes wide open and form synergy in oversight. Fiscal discipline must be stringently enforced to promptly deal with any attempt at cooking of books or embezzlement of the funds. The vested interests of some agencies may be upset in the process, but this is a necessary reform for the sake of people's well-being. Any attempt to encroach upon public interests will never be allowed.

Li emphasized that in face of the unprecedented difficulties and challenges, governments at all levels must follow the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, earnestly implement the decisions made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and take solid steps to carry out the tasks identified in the Government Work Report. With normalized containment measures in place, he highlighted the imperative to maintain stability in the six key areas and take forward the six protections, in order to keep the economic fundamentals stable, spur growth and accomplish the targets and tasks for economic and social development this year.

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