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19 Apr, 2015

China flags another 11.7% budget cut for official travel, transport & receptions


Beijing, (China Daily) 2015-04-18 – Government budgets for overseas travel, official vehicles and receptions will be reduced by 11.7 percent this year to promote frugality, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.

It said 6.31 billion yuan ($1.03 billion) has been allocated to cover expenses related to these three categories.

The budget for government vehicles, which has been cut by 16.2 percent year-on-year due to government reforms introduced last year to reduce unnecessary spending on transportation, is the biggest contributor to the overall reduction.

Last year, China spent 6.56 billion yuan on overseas trips, vehicles and receptions, with public spending on official vehicles accounting for more than 50 percent of the total for the three categories.

Spending for the categories last year dropped by more than 30 percent compared with the 9.47 billion yuan in 2010.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said, “The reduced government budgets are a result of the central government’s frugality efforts in the past two years.”

Central government spending on overseas travel, official vehicles and receptions has continued to fall since 2011, when the figures were made public for the first time.

Zhu said the amended Budget Law, which took effect in January, also requires a much more detailed breakdown of the government budget for overseas travel, official vehicles and receptions.

He said these are now subject to increased transparency and supervision, which has contributed to the reduced budget for this year.

Zhu added, “Despite the budget reductions this year, I think there is room for further cuts.”

Under a guideline issued by the State Council last year, central government departments must reduce their car fleets significantly, and most officials will not have access to official cars. Instead, they will receive transportation subsidies based on rank.

Spending on official vehicles normally accounts for more than half of the total outlay for the three categories.

More than 760 official cars, originally owned by central government departments, have been auctioned since the start of the year, and more than 2,000 others will be auctioned in coming months, according to China News Service.

Local governments are also pushing forward reform on the use of official cars and cutting the number of these vehicles to reduce public spending, Zhu said.