Li Peng vows to speed up economic reform
PRIME Minister Mr Li Peng has vowed to speed up economic reform by granting more autonomy to enterprises.
However, the head of the State Council indicated measures would be taken to cool down the overheated economy, including strengthening the ''macro-level control by the central bank''.
Speaking at the end of a national conference on the reform of the economic structure, Mr Li said China's four specialised banks should continue their role of macro-level control and regulation.
''They should not hasten their transformation into pure commercial banks,'' he said.
Mr Li also indicated the streamlining of the governmental structure, one of the goals laid down at the 14th Party Congress, would proceed in a ''planned and orderly manner''.
The Prime Minister seemed to be hinting at resistance to the large-scale trimming of bureaucratic fat.
Speaking to officials including senior staffers of the State Commission for the Reform of the Economic Structure, Mr Li said various markets would be propagated to smooth the way for the ''socialist market economy''.
He said wholesale markets would be developed to form a multi-layer market network.
''The Government will explore various new market forms including futures transactions, and it will focus on the cultivation of the [markets for] finance, labour, technology, information and real estate,'' the New China News Agency quoted him as saying.
Mr Li indicated the Government would take advantage of the ''current general balance in supply and demand'' to promote price reform.
He stressed government departments must grant enterprises more powers and let them go their own way in management.
''Enterprises must be responsible for their own profits and losses while restraining themselves according to the rules,'' he said.
On financial reform, Mr Li disclosed that the State Council would permit the ''trial establishment'' of local-level shareholding commercial banks.
But attention would be paid to protect the interests of depositors.
Mr Li stressed the importance of devoting more resources to agriculture, which he called the foundation of the economy.
''Local authorities must try hard to raise the output of grain production by protecting the interests of farmers,'' he said.