During the Eleventh National People’s Congress in March, Chinese Premier announced that the annual GDP growth will not exceed 8% for next year, first time below 8 in many years.
Following is part of the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National People’s Congress on March 5, 2012 and adopted on March 14, 2012:
On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you my report on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval and for comments and suggestions from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Review of Work in 2011
Last year, China faced a complex and volatile political and economic environment abroad and arduous and challenging reform and development tasks at home. Working hard with one heart and one mind under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people of all ethnic groups made significant achievements in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. China’s GDP reached 47.2 trillion yuan, an increase of 9.2% over the previous year; government revenue was 10.37 trillion yuan, an increase of 24.8%; and the country’s grain output reached a record high of 571.21 million tons. A total of 12.21 million new urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents and the per capita net income of rural residents rose in real terms by 8.4% and 11.4%, respectively. We consolidated and built upon our achievements in responding to the global financial crisis, and got the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period off to a good start.
II. Major Steps to Be Taken in Government Work in 2012
This year is an important year of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, and the last year of the term of my government. We must dedicate ourselves to our duties, forge ahead with determination, tackle difficult problems directly, and work diligently to achieve results that satisfy the people.
We are still in an important period of strategic opportunities for China’s development, and there are a number of favorable conditions for us to maintain steady and robust economic development for a long time. Industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization are proceeding rapidly, and improvements in the consumption pattern and the industrial structure will create huge potential demand. In the course of over 30 years of reform and opening up, we have built a solid material foundation and institutional conditions for development and gained rich experience in macro-control. Our enterprises have become significantly more competitive and resilient. The eastern region has greater capacity for innovation and development, and the development potential of the central and western regions and the old industrial bases in northeast China is being constantly unleashed. We still have our traditional strengths in economic development, as well as rich human resources and a more skilled workforce. We have a good balance between government revenue and expenditures and a sound financial system, and there is ample nongovernmental capital. The global economic and political patterns are undergoing profound changes; peace, development, and cooperation remain the underlying trends of the times, and overall the situation is favorable for China’s peaceful development. We need to have firm confidence, capitalize on favorable conditions and factors, and continue to grasp and make the most of this important period of strategic opportunities to promote steady and robust economic development, and continue to enhance China’s overall strength and its international influence.
We must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as our guide, thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, make progress while maintaining stability, and strengthen and improve macro-control. We will continue to balance maintaining steady and robust economic development, adjusting the economic structure, and managing inflation expectations; accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development and adjustment of the economic structure; vigorously expand domestic demand, particularly consumer demand; make every effort to strengthen innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction; and strive to deepen reform and opening up and ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing. We will comprehensively advance socialist economic development, political, cultural and social progress, and ecological awareness. We will strive to achieve steady and robust economic development and overall price stability, maintain social harmony and stability, and greet the coming Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC with outstanding achievements in economic and social development.
The main targets for this year’s economic and social development are as follows: to increase GDP by 7.5%, create more than 9 million new jobs in towns and cities, keep the registered urban unemployment rate at or below 4.6%, hold increases in the CPI to around 4%, increase the volume of total exports and imports by around 10%, and continue to improve our balance of payments. At the same time, we will make further progress in industrial restructuring, innovation, energy conservation, and emissions reduction, and ensure that both urban and rural residents’ real incomes increase in line with economic growth. Here I wish to stress that in setting a slightly lower GDP growth rate, we hope to make it fit with targets in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, and to guide people in all sectors to focus their work on accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development and making economic development more sustainable and efficient, so as to achieve higher-level, higher-quality development over a longer period of time. In projecting a CPI increase of around 4%, we have taken into account imported inflation, rising costs of factors of production, and people’s ability to absorb the impact of price increases, while leaving room for the effect of price reforms.
Taking into consideration all relevant factors, we will continue to follow a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, carry out timely and appropriate anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, and make our policies more targeted, flexible, and anticipatory.
We will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy. We will keep the deficit and government debt at appropriate levels. This year, we are projecting a deficit of 800 billion yuan, a decrease to around 1.5% of GDP, which consists of a 550 billion yuan central government deficit and 250 billion yuan of bonds issued on behalf of local governments. We will improve the structure of expenditures and give priority to spending in key areas. We will increase spending on areas which are important to the people’s wellbeing, such as education, culture, medical and health care, employment, social security, and low-income housing projects. We will pay greater attention to strengthening weak links, and increase funding for agriculture, rural areas, farmers, underdeveloped areas, scientific and technological innovation, energy conservation, environmental protection, water conservancy, and geological prospecting. We will be more economical; strictly restrict spending on official overseas trips, vehicles for official use, and official hospitality; greatly reduce meetings and documents; deepen reform of the system for the use of official cars; and further reduce administrative costs. We will continue to restrict the construction of office buildings in terms of both size and grades, and reduce spending on building large gymnasiums and stadiums. We will also comprehensively strengthen auditing of key areas, sectors, and funds. We will introduce structural tax reductions. We will fully implement and improve all preferential tax policies to support the development of small, micro and individually owned businesses, and carry out pilot projects to replace business tax with VAT. We will continue to investigate the collection and use of administrative fees and operations of government-managed funds, merge them where necessary, and ensure fees are collected and government-managed funds are operated in a standardized way. We will strengthen supervision of local government debt and guard against risks. We will continue to deal with outstanding debts properly by classifying them into different categories and managing them accordingly, dealing with different situations differently, and resolving problems gradually. We will further investigate and standardize financing companies run by local governments. Governments at all levels are prohibited from making guarantees and promises in this respect in violation of laws and regulations. At the same time, we will both take short-term measures and build permanent systems, strictly limit new local government debt, and place revenue and expenditures of local government debt under budgetary management on the basis of their type.
We will continue to implement a prudent monetary policy. We aim to promote steady and robust economic development, keep prices stable, and guard against financial risks by keeping the total money and credit supply at an appropriate level, and taking a cautious yet flexible approach. We will employ a full range of monetary policy tools, appropriately adjust the supply and demand of money and credit, and maintain proper growth of financing from nongovernment sources. The broad money supply is projected to increase by 14%. We will improve the credit structure, support key state projects that are under construction or expansion and low-income housing projects, and increase credit support to enterprises, especially small and micro businesses, whose operations are in accordance with industrial policies and whose products have market demand. We will effectively reduce the financing costs of the real economy, and continue to strictly restrict loans to industries that are energy intensive, have high emissions or possess excess production capacity. We will improve the mechanism for setting the RMB exchange rate, make the floating exchange rate regime more flexible, and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level. We will vigorously develop the foreign exchange market, diversify foreign exchange products, and provide more tools for market participants to hedge foreign exchange risks. We will manage and utilize our foreign exchange reserves well. We will set up a sound mechanism for preventing systemic financial risks and for coordinating financial oversight and supervision to strengthen our ability to withstand risks. We will tighten oversight on cross-border flows of capital, standardize all types of lending activities, and guide the sound development of private financing.
To ensure success in all our work this year, we must uphold the theme of scientific development, take transforming the pattern of economic development as the main thread, adopt a holistic approach, and coordinate all our work. We must coordinate efforts to achieve steady growth, control prices, adjust the economic structure, improve the people’s wellbeing, implement reform, and promote harmony.
To achieve steady growth, we will continue to expand domestic demand and keep foreign demand stable, vigorously develop the real economy, work hard to counter the impact of various factors of instability and uncertainty at home and abroad, promptly resolve emerging issues that signal unfavorable trends, and maintain stable economic performance.
To control prices, we will continue to take comprehensive measures to maintain basic overall price stability and prevent a rebound of inflation.
To adjust the economic structure, we will support development in some areas while limiting growth in others, improve the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and make development more coordinated and sustainable.
To improve the people’s wellbeing, we will continue to take ensuring and improving the people’s wellbeing as the fundamental starting point and goal of our work, give higher priority to promoting social fairness and justice, and take a number of initiatives that will bring substantive benefits to the people.
To implement reform, we will carry out reform and opening up with greater determination and effort, solve institutional and structural problems that hinder long-term sound economic and social development, and make breakthroughs in key areas and crucial links. We will spur reform, development and innovation through opening up.
To promote harmony, we will properly balance reform, development, and stability; effectively defuse various types of conflicts, risks, and dangers; prevent isolated problems from growing into major ones; and promote social harmony and stability.