China to further cut red tape to invigorate market

BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — China’s central government will eliminate or delegate to lower-level authorities more items that require government approval and implement nationwide the reform of the construction project reviewing system, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

The Chinese government has put high importance on transforming government functions by streamlining administration, delegating powers, enhancing oversight and providing better services. Premier Li stressed the importance of deepening the reform in transforming government functions, especially by delegating administrative powers.

He called for a thorough evaluation of all government review items to see that all existing review items that can be eliminated or delegated to lower-level authorities be duly dealt with except for those involving national security and major public interests.

“Streamlining administration is as important as tax cuts in stimulating market vitality as we tackle the current downward economic pressure. The key task for the government is to foster a better business environment to energize all market players,” Li said at the Wednesday meeting, “This will be our important measure for sustaining steady economic growth this year.”

It was decided at the meeting that 25 administrative approval items including pre-approval of corporate names before business registration and preliminary review of domestically-produced medicines will be canceled. Six administrative approval items including the practising registration of some professions will be delegated to government departments at or below the provincial level.

“Our reform to transform government functions affects the vested interests of government departments. However, administrative streamlining is a must as excessive and cumbersome reviewing requirements would drive up institutional transaction costs and dampen market vitality,” Li said. “Meanwhile, the government must enhance oversight and improve services. Its focus should shift to setting rules and standards.”

It was also decided at the meeting the pilot reform of the reviewing system for construction projects will be rolled out across the nation.

Under unified requirements, an inter-agency reviewing process with a single department acting as the lead agency and clear reviewing timeframes will be adopted. Practices such as pledging of notification, district-wide evaluation, and joint drawing review and project inspection upon completion will be implemented. In a word, there will be “a single blueprint” overseeing the implementation of a project, “a single window” providing multi-agency services, “a single checklist” for preparing application materials and “a single set of mechanisms” for regulating the permitting processes. The goal is to halve the time required for reviewing construction projects to 120 working days in the whole of the country within the first half of this year.

“Market players must assume their due responsibilities and recognize that they take primary responsibility for the projects they undertake, and that they will be held accountable for them on a lifetime basis,” Li said, “As for the government, it must not interfere in things that do not fall within its purview, and focus on exercising oversight in all the areas necessary. This kind of oversight will help ensure fairness and efficiency.”

Source: Xinhua

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