Central edicts 'not right for all regions'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 April, 2006, 12:00am

Some counties falsify reports to keep subsidies, says official

It is not viable to apply central government edicts across the board as local authorities must consider each province's unique characteristics, officials in Anhui province say.

Provincial Governor Wang Jinshan also said at the weekend that some local counties had submitted falsified reports, fearing accurate ones would cost them central government subsidies.

Mr Wang said about two-thirds of Anhui's counties were considered impoverished. Nineteen were designated impoverished by national standards, and more than 20 by the province's definition.

The central government granted preferential treatment to impoverished counties, so they would not want to exceed the cut-off level for help, he said.

Although the provincial government was aware of the situation, Mr Wang said: 'We are not too concerned as long as the farmers [from these counties] can share the wealth and the people are better off.'

The governor said authorities would study how to more accurately report, and increase, farmers' income.

Last year, they earned an average 2,641 yuan, compared with the 3,255-yuan national average, according to official statistics.

Half of Anhui's population still works in agriculture, but their combined output accounts for less than 20 per cent of provincial gross domestic product, figures provided by the National Bureau of Statistics show.

China has about 600 counties designated as impoverished, meaning residents on average earn 700 yuan a year. These counties qualify for financial subsidies from the central government.

Another Anhui official, Hefei Mayor Wu Cunrong, also said local conditions must be considered when applying central government policies.

He supported Beijing's attempts to tame the economy and avoid overheating but said local governments must take their own situations into account.

'The state has its national development direction, but the key is to combine this with the various local situations so that we can manage development,' Mr Wu said.

According to Hefei officials, the provincial capital invested 12.8 billion yuan in fixed assets in the first quarter of the year, more than double that of the same period last year.

The increase was significantly higher than the 27.7 per cent national average registered in the first three months of the year.

Central government leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have cautioned local officials during the past month about the risk of overheating and excessive investment.

From January to March, the mainland's GDP registered growth of 10.2 per cent, already much higher than the 8 per cent goal set for the whole year.