Zhu Rongji

Enterprise reform 'behind schedule'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 June, 1999, 12:00am


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A TOP government adviser has hinted it might be three years before reform of state-owned enterprises could be declared a success.

This would be at least two years behind the schedule set by Premier Zhu Rongji.

Chen Qingtai, vice-president of the State Council's Development Research Centre, said enterprises were fighting for survival in the face of considerable difficulties.

'It is possible that enterprise reform and [industrial] structural adjustment will realise a breakthrough within three years,' Mr Chen told a conference organised by the department of accountancy at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In September 1997, Mr Zhu set a goal of turning around all loss-making state-owned enterprises within three years.

Mr Chen said the Government should provide all companies, regardless of their ownership, with an environment of fair competition and turn them into share-holding companies to promote 'scientific management'.

Beijing should only support the large and efficient enterprises or those in strategic sectors, he said.

Dr Fan Hengshan, an official from the State Council Office for Restructuring the Economic System, said that enterprises in most sectors could be wholly owned by foreign capital. Only enterprises in the high technology and military industries, and other sectors of national security, would remain wholly owned by the state.