China has issued a budget for the first batch of projects to use funds raised through the additional 1 trillion yuan ($141 billion) of sovereign bonds announced in October, China Daily learned from the Ministry of Finance.
Totaling 237.9 billion yuan, the budgeted amount was issued recently and will be allocated as subsidy funds to three areas: 107.5 billion yuan for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and improvement of disaster prevention and reduction capability, 125.4 billion yuan for high-standard farmland construction in places including Northeast China and disaster-stricken areas in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and 5 billion for the construction of key comprehensive natural disaster prevention and control systems (meteorological infrastructure construction).
“To reduce stress on local governments to set aside their own funds for the applicable projects, the standards or proportions of the additional treasury bond-raised funds as subsidies in total funds for the projects have been raised at one time, with preferential support to the central and western regions and disaster-stricken areas,” an official of the ministry said.
The official of the ministry also said it will issue the additional treasury bond budgets for other areas batch by batch based on the review progress of related projects.
“Targeting supporting areas, including post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and improvement of disaster prevention and reduction capability, the planned issuance of the additional 1 trillion yuan of treasury bonds is a key move to implement the major decisions and arrangements of the Communist Party of China Central Committee to practice the people-centered development philosophy,” the official said.
“The ministry will join hands with other departments to thoroughly implement the decisions and well regulate the use of related funds with strict standards, to ensure the delivery of good effects.”
According to laws and regulation, provincial-level governments are required to issue a budget to lower-level governments within seven days of the issuance of the budget from the central government.
Besides, local governments are required to disburse the additional bond-raised funds in a timely manner according to implementation progress of relevant projects and are not allowed to misappropriate them for other expenditures irrelevant to the projects.
The local governments must not spend the funds in a rush at the end of the year. They must not spend them on projects that are prohibited for the use of such money, like office buildings, auditoriums, hotels, guest houses and image-boosting projects, or for purely commercial purposes, therefore strictly preventing local governments from taking on new hidden debt.
The issued budget of 107.5 billion yuan, for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and improvement of disaster prevention and reduction capability, will be allocated to support a total of 1,508 projects in 12 provincial-level areas including those in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
A key part of the projects will be the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction of educational and medical institutions such as schools and hospitals, as well as that of transportation, water conservancy and other forms of infrastructure, to help people in disaster-stricken areas rebuild their neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the projects also include those for risk removal and reinforcement of reservoirs, river management and meteorological monitoring, to help relevant areas better cope with extreme weather, further improve disaster prevention and reduction capability, and promote long-term regional peace and stability.
The 125.4 billion yuan for high-standard farmland construction and improvement will cover the new construction, improvement or reparation of 54 million mu (36 billion square meters) of farmland in 1,336 counties in the country.
Around 54 percent of the funds will be allocated to Northeast China and disaster-stricken areas in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The 13 main grain producing provinces account for 42.02 million mu of the farmland covered, or 78 percent of the total. Funds to be allocated to them will be 98.4 billion yuan, or 79 percent of the total.
The funds will also cover all the 2.483 million mu of farmland damaged by disasters as relevant provinces reported, to support their repair in time.