Premier calls for efforts to consolidate gains made in debt management
China will refine the management of special local government bonds, optimize utilization of the funds and strengthen their supervision, a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.
Since the beginning of this year, in accordance with the newly added quota approved by the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, local authorities have issued and utilized special local government bonds as appropriate, providing a strong underpinning for the development of key projects and major livelihood programs.
Facing the new downward economic pressure, China will enhance cross-cyclical adjustments, according to the meeting.
While strengthening local government debt management and forestalling and defusing risks on a sustained basis, the special bond management policies for this year and the next will be aligned in a coordinated way to better harness the funds raised from special bond issuance in encouraging private investment and expanding effective investment. This is conducive to boosting domestic demand and spurring consumption.
"In recent years, local government debt management has yielded positive results. Hidden debts have come down, and the government's overall leverage ratio has moderately declined while maintaining stability. We should continue to consolidate the gains," Li said.
The remaining quota of the special bonds for this year will be issued at a faster pace. Work on fund allocation and expenditure management will be effectively advanced, to see that more funds help produce actual gains in the real economy early next year.
In keeping with the requirement of project-based funding allocation, projects and financial needs for next year's special bonds will be identified. Provincial-level governments are required to step up the preliminary work and reserves of projects that meet the needs of economic and social development, and kick-start mature projects at an appropriate time.
In light of local conditions and the need for coordinated regional development, the quota and distribution plans for next year's special bonds will be crafted as appropriate to step up construction in key areas. The funds will not be used in an indiscriminate manner. Early issuance of some quotas will be explored in accordance with laws, regulations and due procedures.
The funds must be used to achieve more effective results. More rigorous examination and supervision will be enforced on the recipients and other aspects of the use of funds. Spending on government buildings and projects solely for the sake of appearances is prohibited. Any embezzlement, breach of disbursement regulations, or long-term idleness of funds will be resolutely deterred.
"We must get the intensity right. Special bonds must be well delivered and effectively used. We need to both avert risks and ensure efficiency," Li said.
The meeting stressed that audit-based oversight and comprehensive inspection of funds raised through the special bonds will be intensified. Problems that have been identified will be strictly rectified, and measures to ensure accountability will be resolutely enforced. Punitive measures, including retrieving idle funds and cutting additional quotas, will be applied as required.
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