Report on the Work of the Government 2020(2)
We owe what we have achieved in economic and social development since last year and in covid-19 control this year to the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the concerted efforts of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups. On behalf of the State Council, I express sincere gratitude to the people of all ethnic groups, and to all other political parties, people's organizations, and public figures from all sectors of society. I express heartfelt appreciation to our fellow countrymen and women in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, in Taiwan, and overseas. I also express sincere thanks to the governments of other countries, international organizations, and friends from all over the world, who have shown understanding and support for China in its endeavor to achieve modernization and in its fight against covid-19.
While recognizing our achievements, we are also keenly aware of the difficulties and problems we face. The shock of the covid-19 pandemic has sent the world economy into severe recession, disrupted industrial and supply chains, and caused a contraction in international trade and investment and volatility in commodity markets. Domestically, consumption, investment, and exports have declined. Pressure on employment has risen significantly. Businesses, especially private firms and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), face growing difficulties. There are increasing risks in the financial sector and other areas. The budgetary imbalances of primary-level governments have intensified. In the work of government there is still room for improvement. Pointless formalities and bureaucratism remain an acute issue. A small number of officials are reluctant to take on responsibility, are unwilling or unable to perform their duties, or behave irresponsibly. Corruption is still a common problem in some fields. During the covid-19 response, many weak links have been exposed in public health emergency management, and the people have expressed their views and suggestions, which deserve our attention. We must strive to improve our work and fulfill our responsibilities and make every effort to live up to the people's expectations.
II. Main targets for development in 2020 and the overall plan for the next stage of work
For the government to deliver this year, we must, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, do the following: follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; implement the guiding principles of the Party's 19th National Congress and the second, third, and fourth plenary sessions of its 19th Central Committee in full; firmly act on the Party's basic theory, line, and policy; strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stay confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and uphold the Party Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership; carry out covid-19 control and promote economic and social development to fulfill the targets and tasks for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects; while carrying out regular covid-19 control, continue to follow the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, apply the new development philosophy, pursue supply-side structural reform as our main task, and draw momentum from reform and opening up to promote high-quality development; make progress in the three critical battles; step up efforts to ensure stability on six fronts and maintain security in six areas; * steadfastly pursue the strategy of expanding domestic demand, ensure economic development and social stability, accomplish the targets and tasks for winning the battle against poverty, and bring to completion the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. (*The six fronts refer to employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations. The six areas refer to job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments.)
At present and for some time to come, China will face challenges like never before. However, we have unique political and institutional strengths, a strong economic foundation, enormous market potential, and hundreds of millions of intelligent and hardworking people. If we face challenges head-on, boost confidence in development, create strong impetus for growth, and preserve and make the most of this important period of strategic opportunity for our development, we will, without doubt, be able to make it through this challenging time. The horizons for China's development are full of promise.
On the basis of a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, we have made proper adjustments to the targets that we were considering before covid-19 struck. This year, we must give priority to stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards, win the battle against poverty, and achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. Specifically, we have set the following targets: Over 9 million new urban jobs, a surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 6 percent, and a registered urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent CPI increase of around 3.5 percent More stable and higher-quality imports and exports, and a basic equilibrium in the balance of payments Growth in personal income that is basically in step with economic growth Elimination of poverty among all rural residents living below the current poverty line and in all poor counties Effective prevention and control of major financial risks A further drop in energy consumption per unit of GDP and the discharge of major pollutants Accomplishment of the 13th Five-Year Plan
I would like to point out that we have not set a specific target for economic growth this year. This is because our country will face some factors in its development that are difficult to predict due to the great uncertainty regarding the covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment. Not setting a specific target for economic growth will enable all of us to concentrate on ensuring stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas. We must focus on maintaining security in the six areas in order to ensure stability on the six fronts. By doing so, we will be able to keep the fundamentals of the economy stable. Maintaining security will deliver the stability needed to pursue progress, thus laying a solid foundation for accomplishing our goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We must be clear that efforts to stabilize employment, ensure living standards, eliminate poverty, and prevent and defuse risks must be underpinned by economic growth; so ensuring stable economic performance is of crucial significance. We must pursue reform and opening up as a means to stabilize employment, ensure people's wellbeing, stimulate consumption, energize the market, and achieve stable growth. We need to blaze a new path that enables us to respond effectively to shocks and sustain a positive growth cycle.
We will pursue a more proactive and impactful fiscal policy. The deficit-to-GDP ratio this year is projected at more than 3.6 percent, with a deficit increase of one trillion yuan over last year. On top of this, one trillion yuan of government bonds for covid-19 control will also be issued. These are extraordinary measures for an unusual time. The aforementioned two trillion yuan will be transferred in full to local governments; a special transfer payment mechanism will be set up to ensure that funds go straight to prefecture and county governments and directly benefit businesses and people. These funds should be primarily used to ensure employment, meet basic living needs, and protect market entities. This includes giving support to cut taxes and fees, reduce rents and interest on loans, and increase consumption and investment. It is important to stress that government funds are public in nature and that no such funds are allowed to be withheld or diverted for non-designated uses. We will work harder to improve the composition of fiscal spending. We will see that spending on people's basic wellbeing is only increased and not cut, ensure spending in key areas, and resolutely cut general expenditures. Construction of new government buildings and wasteful and excessive spending will be strictly prohibited. Government at all levels must truly tighten its belt. The central government will take the lead by committing to negative growth in its budgetary spending, with a more than 50 percent cut to outlays on non-essential and non-obligatory items. All types of surplus, idle and carryover funds that should be taken back will be withdrawn and reallocated. We will see that funds are put to better and more effective use; we will scrutinize all expenditure items and see that every cent is used where it is needed most and where market entities and the people will feel the greatest benefit from it.
We will pursue a prudent monetary policy in a more flexible and appropriate way. We will use a variety of tools such as required reserve ratio reductions, interest rate cuts, and re-lending to enable M2 money supply and aggregate financing to grow at notably higher rates than last year. We will keep the RMB exchange rate generally stable at an adaptive, balanced level. As we work to develop new monetary policy instruments that can directly stimulate the real economy, it is crucial that we take steps to ensure enterprises can secure loans more easily, and promote steady reduction of interest rates.
We will strengthen the employment-first policy with comprehensive measures. We will create synergy to stabilize employment through the coordinated use of fiscal, monetary, and investment policies. We will strive to keep existing jobs secure, work actively to create new ones, and help unemployed people find work. All local governments need to overhaul or rescind excessive restrictions on employment, and adopt all possible measures to bolster employment.
Eliminating poverty is an obligatory task we must complete in order to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We will continue to apply the current poverty alleviation standards, increase inputs into poverty alleviation, and take stronger steps to implement poverty reduction measures, to ensure that all remaining poor people are lifted out of poverty. We will improve and effectively utilize mechanisms for monitoring and assisting people who fall back into poverty and consolidate our gains in poverty alleviation. We will endeavor to protect our blue skies, clear waters, and clean lands, and meet the goals for the critical battle of pollution prevention and control. Strong measures will be taken to prevent and control major risks in the financial and other sectors and to forestall systemic risks.
Almost five months of this year have passed. In the next stage, we will not let up on any front of our long-term fight against covid-19, nor will we lose any time in advancing China's economic and social development agenda. The policies we adopt should be both forceful and sustainable, and they may be adjusted as called for. We have both the resolve and ability to accomplish the targets and tasks set for this year.
III. Forcefully implementing macro policies to keep businesses and employment stable
To ensure employment and people's wellbeing, we must instill confidence in over one hundred million market entities; and we must do our utmost to help businesses, particularly MSMEs, and self-employed individuals get through this challenging time.
We will further cut taxes and fees. We will aggressively implement current policies in conjunction with institutional arrangements to create a more enabling environment and help market entities overcome difficulties and achieve development. We will continue implementing the policies introduced last year on lowering VAT rates and the share of employees' basic old-age insurance paid by enterprises, and we will make further tax and fee cuts of about 500 billion yuan. The policies introduced early this year that are due to expire by June will all be extended till the end of the year. They include the following: exempting MSMEs from contributions to basic old-age insurance, unemployment insurance, and work injury compensation insurance schemes; reducing or cancelling VAT for small-scale taxpayers; exempting VAT on services such as public transportation, restaurants and hotels, tourism and entertainment, and culture and sports; and reducing or cancelling civil aviation development fund contributions and port development fees. The payment of corporate income taxes by micro and small businesses and self-employed individuals will be postponed to next year. We expect that these measures will see additional savings of more than 2.5 trillion yuan for enterprises throughout the year. All tax and fee reduction policies must be fully implemented for our businesses, so that they can sustain themselves and assure success for the future.
We will reduce enterprises' production and operating costs. The policy of reducing electricity prices for general industrial and commercial businesses by 5 percent will be extended to the end of the year. The rates for broadband and dedicated internet access services will be cut by 15 percent on average. Rents for state-owned premises will be lowered or exempted, and all other types of property owners are encouraged to also reduce, waive, or defer rent payments, and they will receive policy support from the government in doing so. We will take firm steps to stop the unauthorized levy of fees on enterprises.
We will increase financial support to keep business operations stable. The policy allowing MSMEs to postpone principal and interest repayments on loans will be further extended till the end of March next year – payments on all-inclusive loans of micro and small businesses eligible for this policy should also be deferred, and other businesses facing financial difficulties can discuss similar terms with their creditors. We will improve assessment and incentive mechanisms and give encouragement to banks to see that they are confident, willing and able to grant loans, make substantial increases to credit loans, first-time loans, and loan renewals without repayment of principal to micro and small businesses, and apply financial technology and big data to reduce service costs and make their services more targeted. The scope of the government financing guaranty will be expanded and guaranty fees will be reduced significantly. Large commercial banks should increase inclusive finance lending to micro and small businesses by more than 40 percent. We will encourage the sharing of enterprises' credit information. We will support enterprises in increasing bond financing. We should tighten regulation, prevent funds from simply circulating in the financial sector for the sake of arbitrage, and crack down on debt evasion. As financial institutions and the businesses that borrow from them share a common stake, we encourage banks to make appropriate interest concessions. To support market entities, we must ensure that MSMEs have significantly better access to loans and that overall financing costs drop markedly.
We will make every effort to stabilize and expand employment. We will increase employment support for key sectors and key groups. With 8.74 million college students graduating this year, we need to encourage market-based employment, ensure that colleges and the governments of localities where they are located provide employment services to these students on an ongoing basis, and expand recruitment to primary-level service projects. We will provide assistance and employment services for demobilized military personnel. We will adopt a policy to see rural migrant workers have equal access to employment services in the cities where they work. We will assist people with disabilities, zero-employment families, and other groups facing difficulty in securing work. There are several hundred million workers, including casual laborers, in flexible employment in China. This year, low-income earners will be allowed to postpone the payment of their social insurance premiums, all employment-related government charges will be cancelled, and sites will be designated for mobile vendors. We will finance skills training to stabilize and expand employment, step up market-oriented skills training, and encourage work-based training and the joint development and sharing of vocational training centers. This year and next, more than 35 million vocational skills training opportunities will be provided, and enrollment in vocational colleges will grow by 2 million. This will help more people improve their skills and secure jobs.
IV. Energizing market entities through reform and strengthening new drivers of growth
The greater the difficulties and challenges we face, the more important it is for us to go further in reform, get rid of institutional barriers, and boost internal forces driving development.
We will press ahead with reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. While continuing to implement routine covid-19 control, we will adjust relevant measures and simplify procedures to boost the resumption of work, production, and business activities. We will work to see our people are able to access more government services via a single website and complete all procedures for starting a business online. Location restrictions on business registration applying to micro and small enterprises and self-employed people will be relaxed, and entrepreneurs of all types will find it easier to register and start a business and access timely policy support. We will support enterprises of all sizes in pursuing development through collaboration with each other. We will improve the social credit system. We will conduct impartial regulation to ensure fair competition, and make sustained efforts to create a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment.
We will advance reforms to promote market-based allocation of production factors. We will encourage small and midsized banks to replenish capital and improve governance, so that they can better serve MSMEs. We will reform the ChiNext stock market and pilot a registration-based IPO system; we will develop multi-tiered capital markets. The role of insurance in protecting against risks will be strengthened. Provincial-level government will be given more power to approve land use for construction projects. We will boost the flow of human resources, foster technology and data markets, and thus unleash the potential of all types of production factors.
We will improve the performance of state capital and SOE reforms. We will launch a three-year action plan for SOE reform. We will improve the modern corporate structure of SOEs and the system of state capital regulation, and intensify mixed ownership reform. We will basically complete the task of relieving SOEs of the obligations to operate social programs, and resolve their other longstanding problems. SOEs should focus on their main responsibilities and businesses, establish sound market-oriented operating mechanisms, and increase their core competitiveness.
We will foster an enabling environment for the development of the private sector. We will see that private businesses have equal access to production factors and policy support. We will review relevant regulations to abolish those that unfairly differentiate enterprises according to form of ownership. Deadlines will be set for government bodies and SOEs to make overdue payments owed to private and small and medium businesses. We will foster a cordial and clean relationship between government and business and promote the healthy development of the non-public sector.
We will encourage the upgrading of manufacturing and the growth of emerging industries. We will support high-quality development of manufacturing. We will markedly increase medium- and long-term loans to manufacturers. We will promote the industrial internet, boost smart manufacturing, and foster clusters of emerging industries. We will develop producer services such as research, development and design, modern logistics, inspection, testing and certification. New forms of business such as e-commerce, online shopping, and online services have played an important role during the covid-19 response and more policies will be introduced in support of such businesses. We will advance Internet Plus initiatives across the board and create new competitive strengths in the digital economy.
We will boost our capacity to support technological innovation. We will provide stable support for basic research and application-oriented basic research, encourage enterprises to increase investment in R&D, and facilitate collaborative innovation by firms, universities and research institutes. We will accelerate the development of national laboratories, restructure the system of key national laboratories, and develop private R&D institutions. We will make greater efforts to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key areas, and promote the development of technologies that improve quality of life. We will intensify international cooperation on science and technology. Intellectual property protection will be strengthened. We will reform the mechanisms for applying scientific and technological achievements, ensure unimpeded flows in innovation chains, and create an enabling environment that encourages innovation and tolerates failure. We will introduce an open competition mechanism to select the best candidates to lead key research projects.
We will continue to encourage business startups and innovation nationwide. We will support the growth of venture capital and equity investment and increase guaranteed loans for startups. To further unleash the creativity of various sectors, we will launch a new round of pilot reforms for making innovations across the board, build more innovation and entrepreneurship demo centers, continue accommodative and prudential regulation, and develop the platform economy and the sharing economy.