Change in government's role

Updated: 2013-05-14 14:09

(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

A warrior chopping off a wrist to save his life when bitten by a snake is the metaphor Premier Li Keqiang used to describe his cabinet's resoluteness in changing its role as a decision-maker on some matters, those involving business in particular, to that of a supervisor and macro administrator.

Since the State Council made the decision to either abolish or delegate more than 70 approval items to lower government departments or institutions late last month, he obviously means it, as was made clear by his reiteration of the government's resolve to make the change during a television and telephone conference on Monday.

It is obvious that Li is clear how important it is for the government to play the right role in its relations with the economy and society at large.

He knows how bad it is for the government to have too much power in endorsing business projects or other items, which could be done with just a stamp from the relevant institution or department.

It is not just that the complicated approval procedure makes things difficult and has hindered the smooth operation of business activities; it is because it also breeds corruption. When power attracts illegal gains, then officials get addicted to wielding that power for gain. This has not only twisted the relationship between the government and the economy, it has also dramatically increased the costs of economic operations.

So the change in the government's role is vital to the vitality of the country's economy, especially as growth is reliant on non-governmental capital and foreign investment now that the processing and manufacturing sector is losing its competitive edge.

Furthermore, the ever-worsening environmental pollution and repeated food safety scandals have much to do with the deficient role the government has played in supervision and administration.

That explains why Premier Li described the shift in the government's role as drawing a clear demarcation line between the government, market and society when he met reporters on March 17 after the National People's Congress annual session.

Only when the government does what it should for the well-being of the economy and social progress will it be able to provide the necessary services and convenience.

Of course, it is extremely difficult to do so, which is why Li used the metaphor of cutting off a wrist, but it is a must for the future of this country.

(China Daily 05/14/2013 page8)