Central govt spending down 20 pct
Updated: 2013-06-28 07:19
BEIJING - China's central government spent 7.43 billion yuan (1.19 billion U.S. dollars) on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips last year, down 20 percent from previous year, according to a government report issued on Thursday.
The amount was also 559 million yuan less than the budgeted figure, according to a State Council report on the central government's final accounts for 2012.
The report was submitted to the ongoing bi-monthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
Money on officials' overseas trips totaled 1.95 billion yuan in 2012, 200 million yuan less than the budgeted figure, while 4.07 billion yuan was spent on vehicles and 1.41 billion yuan on receptions, down by 281 million yuan and 78 million yuan, respectively, the report said.
In 2011, central government spending on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips totaled 9.36 billion yuan.
The report attributed the reduction to central government efforts to practice prudence and cut costs.
In 2011, the central government published actual spending on receptions, vehicles and overseas trips in its final accounts report for 2010 for the first time. Government spending in these areas has long been a matter of public concern.
Despite the drop in spending, problems were found regarding central government departments' holding of sessions and organization of overseas trips, according to a 2012 audit report submitted to the legislative session by the country's top auditor on Thursday.
The National Audit Office (NAO) audited 45 central government departments last year.
Some departments did not strictly follow the annual plan for overseas trips that they set in the beginning of the year and some did not follow spending protocols, said Liu Jiayi, NAO auditor general, when delivering the report to lawmakers.
According to the report, 884 overseas trips made by officials from 33 departments were not listed in their annual plans.
Of the 399 million yuan spent on overseas trips by departments audited by the agency, about 39 million yuan was either not listed in their budgets or was misused, the report said.
The total expenses of the central government increased by 14.3 percent from 2011 to 102.85 billion yuan in 2012, according to the report on the central government's final accounts for 2012.
The increase resulted from attempts to streamline the administrative system, said Finance Minister Lou Jiwei when elaborating on report to lawmakers.
The central treasury began to cover the expenses of the local branches of several national agencies last year. The branches used to depend on local budgets, as well as trailway law enforcement agencies, which used to be partly sponsored by state-owned railway companies, Lou said.
In addition, the State Post Bureau expanded its branches from the provincial level to lower levels, which also increased expenses, he said.
This year, the central government will strictly control spending, especially the government's operational expenses, Lou said.