In a meeting chaired by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council said local officials would be held responsible for any failure to honour business contracts or follow the central government’s lead on private investment, state media reported. The cabinet issued the warning as it called for stepped-up measures to spur private investment and pointed to a weakness in implementation at lower levels of government. Growth in overall investment began to deteriorate on the mainland in April, but the funds channelling from the private sector began to slow earlier, at the start of the year. Last month it rose 3.9 per cent, compared with the 5.2 per cent gain in the previous four months. More than 60 per cent of overall investment comes via private capital, creating half of all new jobs each year. On May 4, the State Council ordered a month-long inquiry into how local authorities were implementing central policies on private investment, and yesterday’s meeting of the cabinet executive was to follow up the investigation, according to a statement released by Xinhua. Chinese government launches fact-finding mission to boost private investments amid economic slowdown The State Council said the flaws in related policies and slack implementation of central policy on private investment by local governments were to blame for the slower growth of private investment. The government also acknowledged that private businesses would not enjoy the same treatment as their peers in the state sector, in regards to market access, the distribution of resources and government services. Private firms also faced discrimination in access to financing and loans from state banks, according to the statement. The cabinet said some local governments had failed to fulfil their contractual obligations with private businesses and lost creditability. It said all such problems had “seriously affected the healthy development of private investment”. Why last year’s record private equity investment growth in China is set to slow It pledged to take measures to hold local officials accountable for their inaction, neglect and failure in implementing central policy. The meeting also called for other measures to help private firms, such as removing or reducing barriers for private investment, cutting red tap and lowering government charges to help them reduce costs. The government would further open up sectors including telecommunications, airports and oil and gas exploration to private firms, the statement said.