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PRC Ministry of Finance, Report on the Execution of the Central and Local Budgets for 2015 and the Central and Local Draft Budgets for 2016, March 5, 2016

The Chinese Ministry of Finance presented this report to the National People’s Congress on March 5. It was adopted on March 16, 2016. This is the official Xinhua translation of the report.
March 18, 2016
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BEIJING, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Following is the full text of the report on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2015 and on the central and local draft budgets for 2016, which was submitted for review on March 5 at the Fourth Session of the 12th National People's Congress and was adopted on March 16:

REPORT ON THE EXECUTION OF THE CENTRAL AND LOCAL BUDGETS FOR 2015 AND ON THE CENTRAL AND LOCAL DRAFT BUDGETS FOR 2016
Fourth Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress
March 5, 2016
Ministry of Finance

Fellow Deputies,

The Ministry of Finance has been entrusted by the State Council to submit this report on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2015 and on the drafts of the central and local budgets for 2016 to the fourth session of the Twelfth National People's Congress (NPC) for your deliberation and for comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

I. Execution of the Central and Local Budgets for 2015

In the face of a complex international environment and the formidable tasks of domestic reform, development, and stability in 2015, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have brought together and led all of the people of China in taking an active approach to economic and social development, adapting to the new normal in economic growth, and responding appropriately to all major risks and challenges. As a result, the economy has maintained a medium-high rate of growth, the economic structure has improved, reform has been deepened, opening up has been promoted, further improvements have been made to the people's quality of life, and social stability was ensured. Both the central and local government budgets were executed satisfactorily last year.

1. Implementation of the NPC's budget resolution

In accordance with the resolution of the third session of the Twelfth NPC on the report on both the execution of the central and local budgets for 2014 and the central and local draft budgets for 2015 as well as the review of that report by the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, we have developed new ways to improve macro regulation through fiscal policy, made steady progress in the reform of fiscal and tax systems, and worked hard to bring about sustained, healthy economic and social development.

Rule of law has been strengthened throughout fiscal and tax work.

We made efforts to ensure that governments at all levels, departments, and organizations improved their rule of law awareness as they put into effect all of the requirements laid down in the Budget Law. We strengthened the development of the Budget Law's complementary institutions, soliciting comments from the general public on the draft revisions to the Implementation Regulations of the Budget Law, launching management regulations for special transfer payments from the central government to local governments, and revising management regulations for general transfer payments and other rules and regulations. We collaborated with the relevant NPC department on further clarifying the principle of law-based taxation in the Legislation Law, and drew up guidelines for implementing this principle. We also actively assisted legislative work, such as the preparations for enacting an environmental protection tax.

Budgetary work has been made more authoritative and consequential in all aspects.

We have tightened budgetary constraints and made sure that all expenditures are based on budgets. We further increased the detail of budget itemization, scaled down the amount of tentative budgets prepared by the Ministry of Finance for other governments offices or programs, and examined and approved departmental budgets in a timely fashion. We accelerated the work to break down and disseminate budgetary expenditure targets and intensified inspections of programs implemented by central government departments, therein achieving noticeably faster budget execution. We improved the regulatory system for budgets and made budget assessment an essential part of the budgetary management procedures. We introduced regulations such as the provisional regulations for performance target management of special transfer payments from the central government to local governments. The number and yuan value of central government department programs that received performance evaluations rose by 26.3% and 27% respectively, and the evaluation results were linked to the allocation of this year's budgets. We expanded the number of government departments whose budgets and final accounts are subject to NPC review, and for the first time, publicly released budgets for special transfer payments broken down by region and by program. We also carried out inspections on the disclosure of local governments' budgets and final accounts with a view to enhancing their fiscal transparency.

Proactive fiscal policy has been made more targeted and effective.

In responding to economic developments, we exercised targeted and well-timed regulation on the basis of range-based regulation and strengthened anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, ensuring that the Chinese economy operated within an appropriate range.

First, we maintained a necessary level of spending intensity. We increased the government deficit by an appropriate amount in the 2015 budget, and put to use funds carried over from previous years to increase the intensity of spending. We took a host of measures, such as thoroughly reviewing carryover and surplus funds and strengthening inspections and accountability, to put existing government funds to use for the purposes of ensuring the wellbeing of the people, strengthening points of weakness, and making development more sustainable. A total of 3.2 trillion yuan worth of bonds were issued to replace outstanding debt of local governments close to maturity, helping reduce their interest burden and debt repayment pressure and free up financial resources for the development of key programs.

Second, we stepped up efforts to reduce taxes and fees. We expanded the scope of certain preferential policies, such as those concerning corporate income tax for low-profit small businesses and the accelerated depreciation of fixed assets. We exempted small and micro businesses from 42 different kinds of administrative charges and canceled or suspended the collection of 57 kinds of central-level administrative charges. We lowered premiums for unemployment, workplace injury, and maternity insurance schemes, and expanded the scope of the policy of providing subsidies from the unemployment insurance fund to enterprises that maintain stable employment during structural adjustments.

Third, we strengthened the guiding role played by fiscal funds and fiscal policies. We made great efforts to promote the use of the public-private partnership (PPP) model, and we encouraged nongovernmental capital to enter public service sectors by providing investment and operation subsidies or through franchising or other methods. We moved ahead with pilot reforms of management over the use, disposition, and profit rights of scientific and technological advances made in central-level public institutions. We improved the policy of additional tax deductions for enterprise research and development. We selected the first group of demonstration cities to act as business start-up and innovation hubs for small and micro businesses.

Reforms of the fiscal and tax systems have been deepened.

We introduced a number of new reform measures in an orderly manner and improved mechanisms related to their implementation, ensuring that these reform measures took firm root.

First, we accelerated the reform of the budgetary management system. We transferred local educational surcharge and ten other items from the budgets of government-managed funds into general public budgets. We drew up management regulations for the budgets of central state capital operations, transferred more funds from such budgets into general public budgets, and established a mechanism for making transfer payments from the budgets of central government state capital operations to the budgets of local government state capital operations. We moved forward with medium-term financial planning. We made further progress in organizing and integrating special transfer payments, cutting the number of items from 150 in 2014 to 96 in 2015. We established a standardized mechanism for local governments to secure financing through bond-issuance, placed local government debt under budgetary management by category, and imposed ceilings for such debt. All local government bonds are now issued and repaid by their respective provincial governments. We enacted regulations and operational guidelines for the preparation of government financial reports, published basic principles on government accounting, and revised the general fiscal budget accounting system.

Second, we deepened tax reforms. We carried out research on a plan for implementing trials of replacing business tax with value added tax (VAT) in all sectors and a reform plan for taxing personal income on the basis of both adjusted gross income and specific types of income. We further expanded the coverage of ad valorem taxation, extending it to the reform of resource taxes on rare earths, tungsten, and molybdenum. We carried out research relating to the excise tax reform plan and improved excise tax policies. We intensified efforts to review and standardize fees and charges levied on businesses.

Third, we made steady progress in the reform of the fiscal system. We improved the mechanism for sharing the cost of export tax rebates between the central and local governments. We studied and moved ahead reform of the division of administrative authority and spending responsibilities between the central and local governments. As the tax reform progressed, we worked promptly to draw up a transitional plan for adjusting the division of revenue between the central and local governments.

Financial discipline has been tightened up.

We have been conscientiously putting into practice the CPC Central Committee's eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct and the State Council's three-point decision on curbing government spending, rigorously controlling general expenditures, and have achieved a reduction of 11.7% in the central government's budgetary expenditures related to official overseas visits, official vehicles, and official hospitality as compared to 2014. We improved regulations on practicing thrift and opposing waste, strengthened the management of meeting venue selection, and made adjustments to standards for business travel and accommodation expenses of Party and government organization workers. We improved standards for basic expenditure quotas, moved faster to develop a system of standards for program expenditure quotas, and improved budgetary management of program expenditures. We launched a campaign to rectify the abuse of funds earmarked for agriculture, farmers, and rural areas, investigated relevant problems and punished those responsible, released representative cases of financial discipline violations, and further ensured that the management of funds is in line with standards and relevant loopholes are closed. We stepped up financial oversight and implementation supervision to ensure that our fiscal and tax policies were productive in promoting steady growth.

(continued)

For the full report, click here.

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