Clamp on junkets and banquets
A jobs freeze and a ban on unnecessary spending and expense accounts marked the start of the new year for bureaucrats.
A warning, issued by the Ministry of Finance, ordered officials to keep their expenses down in 1998 and not to hire any new staff without approval by the central authorities.
Although normal wage adjustments are allowed, departments were told to follow the unified wage policy laid down by Beijing.
In addition, they were warned against trying to disguise unwarranted expenses and ordered to cancel all 'unreasonable' allowances and subsidies, a report by Xinhua said.
Governments should stop wasting money on new buildings and halls, festivities and overseas junkets. Banquets and sightseeing tours were banned, the warning said.
Financial officials should follow a balanced budget philosophy in managing their accounts.
Surpluses should be used to cover previous years' deficits, redeem debts to farmers or finance anti-poverty programmes.
The order comes as the central Government is expected to carry out a major reshuffle this year.
Several central ministries and commissions will be merged or turned into business-like corporations to streamline the bureaucracy and raise efficiency.