More frugal meetings
Updated: 2013-09-25 07:58
In a fresh show of resolve to fight extravagance and promote frugality, central Party and government departments will have to cut their spending on meetings after a new regulation comes into effect on Jan 1.
A regulation issued by the Ministry of Finance on Monday sets stricter standards for the size, duration and per capita expenditure on meetings sponsored by not only almost all central Party organs and government departments, but also the agencies under their direct jurisdiction.
Replacing a similar regulation promulgated in 2008, the latest regulation demands a strict budget and an information disclosure system be set up to monitor the spending on meetings and identify any malpractices.
The new regulation provides details to ensure the central organs of all political parties, the top legislative and political advisory bodies, the supreme court and procuratorate, central government departments and publicly funded central institutions and groups reduce their spending on meetings. For example, most conferences should not last more than two days.
The regulation also bans conferences from being held in scenic spots and requires that no conference should be convened outside of Beijing if the participants are mostly from within the capital, which will effectively stop the practice of organizers using conferences as an excuse to visit scenic sites.
This is the latest move by China's new leadership to combat extravagance and the wasting of public money. Along with the extravagant spending on publicly funded receptions, vehicles and overseas trips, the expensive conferences of the Party and government departments have also been a financial black hole provoking public anger.
Due to the lack of an affective and transparent budgetary management system, extravagance has long been a thorny issue for the ruling Party to tackle. As China's economy further slows down, now it is more necessary than ever for the country to reduce waste and funnel the saved money to areas where it is more needed.
The latest move, together with a series of similar ones, including a ban on expensive galas funded by public money, shows the fight against waste launched by China's new leaders will not be just be a temporary campaign.
(China Daily 09/25/2013 page8)