Poor given vouchers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am

Hundreds of low-income residents in Chengdu , Sichuan , received 100 yuan (HK$113) municipal government vouchers on Monday to spend at supermarkets and chain stores as part of government efforts to boost consumption.

The recipients were the first batch of more than 379,000 of the city's poorest residents to receive the municipal government coupons. Chengdu authorities decided to issue the vouchers early last week and earmarked nearly 400 million yuan for the project, saying Chengdu was the first mainland city to apply the measure to boost domestic consumption and help residents.

Asian Development Bank economist Zhuang Jian said Chengdu's move would do little to stimulate the area's economy.

'The mainland's consumption problem is different from that of other places,' he said. 'Our people are unwilling to spend money mostly because of the lack of social and medical security.'