Beijing promised to further boost fixed-asset investment, consumption and exports as part of an eight-point plan to revive the country's slowing economy. Premier Wen Jiabao said after a State Council meeting that larger investments and monetary easing were having an impact on the economy, but he warned of challenges ahead. 'We did see some positive factors in economic development and that increased confidence in every task,' Mr Wen said. But he was also quoted by Xinhua as saying: 'The foundation for an economic recovery is still not stable.' The cabinet said it would adhere to the expansionary fiscal and loosening monetary policies. It highlighted eight key tasks - ranging from accelerating construction of public works and boosting exports - in combating the global downturn. Mr Wen's comments came after the National Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday that the economy grew 6.1 per cent in the first quarter, the slowest in 17 years. However, the results still beat expectations as the country's massive stimulus package bolstered fixed-asset investment and incentives to rural consumers increased retail sales. 'We would rather overestimate the difficulties and risks looming ahead, as well as expect a longer period of crisis,' Mr Wen was quoted in the statement as saying. 'We must prepare policies more carefully and work in a meticulous manner to achieve various kinds of economic goals.' The key points of the State Council's plans are: Expand fixed-asset investments. The cabinet said it would complete building of the first two groups of mega projects already under way and would approve a third batch. In the first three months, fixed-asset investment growth of 28.8 per cent was the driving force behind the 6.1 per cent gross domestic product figure, the statistics bureau said. Total investment was valued at 2.81 trillion yuan (HK$3.19 trillion). Beijing also set a 200 billion yuan quota for local government debt issuance to fund fixed-asset investments. Stimulate domestic consumption. The central government said it would expand the campaign in rural areas to subsidise the purchase of household appliances and would stimulate spending on cultural events, travel and information. Increase efforts to stabilise the export sector. The cabinet vowed to remove administrative barriers to overseas shipments and to offer easy credit to support technology-intensive industries so they could market their products abroad. Although the cabinet underscored the importance of overseas shipments in its statement, the country was hurt by faltering external demand, analysts said. Ensure a smooth development of the agriculture sector. Speed up the adjustment of the nation's industrial mix, including encouraging alternative energy and bio-medicine. Fine-tune the welfare system by upgrading medical services and offering newly created jobs to laid-off workers. Create more financing channels for companies, including a Nasdaq-style second board. Strengthen collection of taxes to prevent fiscal revenue from falling further.