Fujian toes central line on economy
Fujian Governor Chen Mingyi yesterday vowed to toe the central line of reining in economic growth, despite the province's ambitious infrastructure plans.
The province has set an economic growth target of 11 per cent this year, against the national average of eight per cent laid down by premier Li Peng last month.
This is despite Fujian's high growth rate of about 30 per cent last year, which saw the gross domestic output reach 220 billion yuan (HK$205 billion).
The figure was much higher than the original 1995 target of 11 per cent and the 21.2 per cent growth rate of 1994.
Fujian has set the ceiling for price rises this year at nine per cent, compared with the 10 per cent national target, even though Fujian had a low 14.4 per cent inflation rate last year.
Mr Chen said combatting inflation remained the foremost task.
'We should urge all levels of government departments to achieve the goal of suppressing price rises. We should ensure sufficient supply of rice bags and baskets of vegetables,' the Governor said in his Government Work Report, delivered at the opening of the provincial People's Congress.
He said Fujian 'would try its best' to keep the annual inflation rate at eight per cent and economic growth at 11 per cent, averaged over the next five years.
Outlining a provincial blueprint for the Ninth Five-Year Plan, the Governor revealed 560 billion yuan would be spent on fixed asset investment, with an annual increase of 17 per cent.
A substantial amount would be earmarked for 10 big infrastructure projects aimed at boosting Fujian's capabilities in handling rising demands of cargo and passenger transportation.
By 2000, the province plans to build two international airports in Fuzhou and Xiamen, a coastal expressway, three railways, an oil-refining plant and a number of hydro-electricity plants.
Mr Chen said at least 50 deep-water piers should be built by 2000.
He admitted Fujian had failed to achieve breakthroughs in boosting farm producing bases, reforming state enterprises, improving infrastructure construction and eradicating social evils.
A lack of financial support was to blame for the 'fragile' basis for farm production. Some delegates appealed to the Government to draft plans to strengthen its investment in modern farming technology.
Xu Chongzhi, a delegate from Nanping, said decreasing investment in agriculture was commonplace in the province. According to Mr Chen's report, grain production will rise 120,000 tonnes to 9.12 million tonnes this year.