China to beef up 'green' efforts

Updated: 2012-05-25 10:15


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BEIJING - The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced Thursday that central government-funded expenditures on energy savings and emission reductions as well as on renewable energies development will total 97.9 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) this year, up 25.1 billion yuan from 2011.

The government's accumulative "green" investment will hit 170 billion yuan in 2012, the MOF said.

Meanwhile, the central government has budgeted 25.5 billion yuan in subsidies for expanding the consumption of energy-saving household electrical appliances this year, according to the MOF.

The consumption-stimulating program was first announced last week by the State Council, or Cabinet, which again stressed Wednesday the importance of expanding domestic consumption amid weakening exports and a slowing economy, which eased to 8.1 percent in the first quarter from 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The new subsidy plan for the purchase of energy-saving home appliances is an important move by the government to stabilize growth, expand domestic demand, and improve energy savings and emission reductions, Minister of Finance Xie Xuren said at a national work meeting on fiscal budget for energy savings and emission reductions.

It was also an important part of China's implementation of proactive fiscal policies this year, Xie said at Thursday's meeting in Beijing.

China has launched similar programs in recent years aimed at propelling consumption to shore up economic growth. The MOF predicted the latest subsidy program will increase consumption by up to 450 billion yuan, otherwise, help save 11.7 million tonnes of coal equivalent.

Also, fiscal spendings on energy savings attract more investment. According to official data, the central government has input 338 billion yuan to support energy savings and emission reductions since 2007. Along with spending from local governments, the governmental initiatives has attracted up to 1 trillion yuan of investment in the country.

Vice Minister of Finance Zhang Shaochun said that the ministry would work to push forward the purchase subsidies program.

With increasing government expenditures, Zhang said the country will continue to boost consumption of energy-saving products, promote technological upgrades, elimination of outdated production capacities, construction of sewage treatment facilities, as well as preventive measures of air pollution next year.

Meanwhile, the fiscal budgets will also be used to develop new energy vehicles and introduce hybrid buses in big and medium-sized cities nationwide, according to Zhang.

Xie said given the new circumstances, it is important that the government steps up fiscal spending so as to raise the interest of companies and individuals to invest.