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Lawmakers, advisors urge tightened supervision over budgeted spending
2013/03/08

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Lawmakers and political advisors have cautioned the government against any misuse and waste of its budgeted spending of 13.82 trillion yuan (2.22 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2013.

Supervision should be strengthened over every item so as to make every penny count, Dai Zhongchuan, a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and vice head of the Law School of Huaqiao University in southeast China's Fujian Province, said during the ongoing annual legislative session.

Late in 2012, the top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) launched a frugality campaign that soon swept across the country. "The government should carry forward the campaign by effectively managing its own expenditures," Dai said.

China has budgeted spending of 619.58 billion yuan on agricultural and forestry development for 2013, an increase of 12.8 percent from the 2012 budget, according to a central budget report submitted on Tuesday to the NPC session.

"Such a large amount of money, if properly used, will greatly boost the country's agricultural production and sustained development," said Wang Guangyuan, NPC deputy and professor from the accounting department of Xiamen University in Fujian.

But Wang added that supervision is vital, as the money is vulnerable to diversion, misappropriation and even embezzlement in projects at different levels.

The 2013 budget has, for the first time, included social security funds, which indicates that the framework for a fully-covered budgetary system has basically taken shape, said Jia Kang, a researcher with the Ministry of Finance and member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), or the top political advisory body.

Under the framework, all government revenues and expenditures are incorporated into the budgetary system, thus rooting out off-budget funds, Jia explained.

Progressive as it is, more needs to be done, he added. "The budget report should be further specified and problems in budget enforcement must be solved."

Wang Yinxiang, NPC deputy and a village CPC chief in east China's Shandong Province, said he failed to find in the report how much the government will set aside for direct subsidies for grain products. What has been stated is a total figure intended to support agricultural and rural development.

With the exception of national defense and diplomatic expenditures, spending on other items should be made public in a very detailed manner, Dai suggested.

"Everybody needs to know how the money is spent and whether it is reasonably spent," he said.

Strict budget enforcement has also been a highlight of panel discussions held during the ongoing sessions of the NPC and CPPCC National Committee.

The report, which also details enforcement of the central budget for 2012, shows that expenditures on general public services, including public funds for administrative organs, rose 17 percent year on year in 2012, a 10.5-percent increase from the budgeted amount.

Disparities between budgeted and actual spending are not uncommon, but such a great disparity is "unscientific," Dai Zhongchuan said.

During budget enforcement, every unplanned payment should be submitted to the NPC and its Standing Committee for deliberation, said Zheng Yuxin, NPC deputy and former deputy director of the Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The budget should be legally binding and allow no arbitrary overspending," Zheng said.

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