State firm workers' expenses scrutinised

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am

Officials from state-owned enterprises will come under scrutiny for using public funds for personal wining, dining and travel under a new State Council directive.

The State Council commission that oversees the enterprises has demanded that officials regularly disclose such expenses to allow for 'democratic monitoring'. It also called for 'monetising' reform to incorporate expenses into salaries.

'Currently, many enterprises do not have a thorough management system,' said a report by the China News Service. 'Many responsible parties do not disclose their expenses to the public. A small number of them have mixed up the books and used the funds arbitrarily, which has led to mismanagement.'

Under the directive issued yesterday by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, state-owned enterprises should draw up guidelines this year, and fully implement them from 2007.

Officials at state-owned enterprises commonly are paid only a few thousand yuan a month, but the perks mean many are keen to take up the jobs. They often drive luxury cars, dine in expensive restaurants and even take family holidays paid for with public funds.

This is true not only for senior staff but also departmental supervisors and people who control SOE finances.

A state media magazine reported that expenses incurred by government and SOE officials added up to about 900 billion yuan a year.

There have been efforts to tighten up on the expenses of public officials with guidelines from various government departments, but they have not succeeded.

Hu Xingdou , a professor of economics and Chinese affairs at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said yesterday's move was not likely to correct the problem because there was no supervision.

Officials who incorporated regular expenses into their basic salary would continue to eat, drink and travel on public funds because no one was there to tell them not to, he said, plus the commission could not hope to monitor all 300,000 state-owned enterprises.