Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday lashed out at cadres who squander tax money on wasteful projects and demanded tax collectors do everything they can to prevent a shortfall in tax revenue this year, Xinhua reported. Addressing a finance conference in Beijing, Mr Zhu laid down three targets for officials, starting with strengthening their grip on the spending of government budgets. Secondly, all levels of government must stop investing in redundant projects. Thirdly, he demanded cadres use tax money more wisely and ensure sufficient funding for areas designated a high priority by the government. According to Xinhua, Mr Zhu also said although China's economy was strong this year, the government still faced a heavy financial burden. 'A conspicuous problem of our economy this year is that growth of government revenue is too slow but our expenditure is rapidly expanding,' Mr Zhu said. He criticised some private and foreign businesses for avoiding paying taxes and said some unscrupulous businessmen also evaded Customs tariffs through smuggling. Jin Renqing, head of the State Administration of Taxation, said at the same conference that tax collectors must ensure the government's collection targets for this year were met. An official told Xinhua that it would go after people failing to pay personal income tax, domestic companies hiding revenue behind tax breaks which had expired, and multinational companies with investments in China.