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Budget for Asian Games on the way, says city official

Updated: 2011-02-25 07:00

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - Finance authorities in this southern city said they will unveil an official breakdown of the spending on the Asian Games at an appropriate time after criticism from local legislators who are claiming the sporting spectacle left the city in a huge hole.

The promise of a detailed financial breakdown came after comments from Zhong Nanshan, a deputy with the Guangzhou People's Congress, who said there was a big financial gap after the local authorities invested what he claimed was 257.7 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) on the games.

Zhong claimed Guangzhou had only expected to spend 195 billion yuan on the games. He claimed the debt from the games and other debts that the city has run up during the past five years has left it owing 210 billion yuan.

Zhong did not say how he came up with the numbers.

"How will the city government find the money to improve people's living standards with such heavy debts to pay in the years ahead?" Zhong was quoted as saying by Guangzhou Daily.

Many other deputies at the local people's congress have joined Zhong in calling on the government to unveil its official report on the cost of the games.

"Guangzhou's budget income was less than 100 billion yuan last year. Where does this huge investment in the games come from? The government should give the public an explanation," said Zheng Jingping, a deputy with the Guangdong Provincial People's Congress.

In response, Zhang Jieming, director of Guangzhou finance bureau, said the income and expenditure for the Asian Games basically balances.

"I don't know what sources Zhong Nanshan cited. You reporters should ask him how he got his figure," Zhang told Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News on Thursday.

The expenditure directly used for the games was 13.6 billion yuan, with more than 100 billion yuan also invested in improving urban infrastructure during the past five years, Zhang said.

Prior to the games' opening, Guangzhou Mayor Wan Qingliang said the investment in the games had been kept within the budget and amounted to about 120 billion yuan.

"I haven't exchanged views on the games budget with Zhong," said Zhang. "So far, there has not been a complete financial report. This is normal. There are several figures related to the games budget and we will unveil the official financial accounts at the proper time."

In addition to the large amount of money spent on the Asian Games last year, a 38-million-yuan budget proposal was submitted to the local people's congress for review this year, according to the draft of the local financial budget for 2011.

Some of that money is likely to be needed to offset money spent on training volunteers and throwing a reception for foreign guests during the games. It will also help fund the documentation of the games.

Guangzhou has a budget for government expenditure totaling 103.8 billion yuan for 2011. Its budgeted income is expected to reach 89.7 billion yuan.

Guangzhou registered general financial revenues of 334.8 billion yuan last year, of which more than 240 billion was turned over to the provincial and central authorities.

Guangzhou hosted the 16th Asian Games and the Asian Para Games in November and December last year.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/25/2011 page4)

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