New funds should directly benefit businesses, people: Chinese premier
People's Daily

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday urged efforts to establish strict regulatory mechanisms to ensure new fiscal funds go straight to city and county governments and directly benefit businesses and people.

China will increase its deficit by 1 trillion yuan (about US$140.2 billion) this year. It will also issue 1 trillion yuan in government bonds for COVID-19 control, as part of the efforts to provide relief to businesses and unleash market vitality, Li said in a video conference in the northern port city of Qingdao.

Noting that the funds should be primarily used to ensure employment, meet basic living needs and protect market entities, Li stressed that a special transfer payment mechanism should be set up to ensure that funds go straight to primary-level governments. The funds must directly benefit businesses and people and mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that these funds are not withheld by provincial governments.

Fiscal authorities should set up a ledger for the use of government bonds for COVID-19 controls and ensure the flow of the funds is transparent, the premier said.

He also urged treasuries at all levels to allocate funds point-to-point and asked audit authorities to strengthen auditing.

Li called for the strict enforcement of fiscal discipline and the severe crackdown on fraud and fund embezzlement.

The premier said governments at all levels should fully implement tax and fee reduction policies, and should not impose arbitrary charges on businesses and add financial burdens on them.

Faced with unprecedented challenges, governments at all levels should work hard to keep the fundamentals of the economy stable, promote economic growth and strive to fulfill the main targets and tasks for this year, Li noted.