Local govts must shift growth focus

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-10 08:04
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Many local governments are giving GDP the highest priority and trying to achieve a 10 percent economic growth rate, even though the aim of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) is to change the country's development model. Only if local officials are judged by comprehensive indicators - and not GDP growth - can local governments change their GDP-oriented development mode, says an article on Excerpts:

It is not surprising to see many local governments still draw up plans for faster GDP growth, because they think faster economic growth is the key to success.

If this is not checked soon, the consequences could be even more damaging now that the central authorities have realized the cost of blind economic growth and are trying to change the country's development model.

Worse, local governments' insistence on achieving faster economic growth at the cost of the environment and the overall benefit of the people may thwart the central leadership's plan of changing the development model.

Many countries have stopped tabulating statistics of regional GDP, let alone comparing or evaluating it on the basis of local governments. Therefore, China needs to adopt international practices and gradually eliminate calculating GDP figures at the provincial level.

Once the evaluation of local governments' or regional GDP growth is abandoned, local officials will be compelled to shift their focus to improving people's livelihood by providing more basic public services and important products, and strengthening social management. They will also be forced to concentrate on "green development", which the 12th Five-Year Plan focuses on to transform local governments' functions and reform the administrative system.

Local governments, especially at the provincial level, should focus more on per capita income growth of their rural and urban residents.