Premier Li Keqiang reiterated on Saturday the importance of stabilizing China’s economic fundamentals with stronger measures to create jobs, safeguard people’s livelihoods and protect market players as the country faces unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during a panel discussion with deputies to the 13th National People’s Congress from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the premier pledged more steps to help small, micro and medium-sized businesses and self-employed individuals cope with the challenging period.
More support will be extended to those on flexible payrolls such as small traders, said Li, who is also a member of the NPC delegation from Guangxi.
In the face of unprecedented challenges to its development, China must coordinate epidemic containment and socioeconomic development and blaze a new path that allows for an effective response to shocks and sustains positive growth.
He explained that fiscal funding increased from last year, due to an expanded budget deficit and the issuance of special central government bonds worth 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion), and this will be transferred to governments at county and city levels to support job creation and safeguard people’s livelihoods.
To ensure that the people’s basic needs are met, the country can also shore up consumer spending, which is now a key driver of China’s economic growth, he said.
More work must be done to guarantee the well-being of those experiencing difficulties and win the battle against extreme poverty, the premier said, adding that weak links in rural infrastructure, healthcare, ecology and the environment must be tackled as soon as possible.
He called for greater steps forward in reform and opening-up to overcome obstacles, promote fair competition and roll out more concrete steps to help businesses and create a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment.
Li called on officials from Guangxi to give play to the region’s geographical advantages, expand opening-up and build the region into a platform for high-level opening-up.
While working to fulfill its main targets and tasks for this year, the regional authorities must rely on Guangxi’s various ethnic groups in seeking further development and taking measures to ensure the people’s well-being, he said.
Li also joined panel discussions with some members of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on Saturday afternoon.
Political advisers taking part in the discussion were from the China Association for Science and Technology and from the science and technology sector.
Li called for greater research and development of more convenient and efficient testing technologies and effective pharmaceuticals and vaccines, a key pillar of winning the battle against the pandemic.
The level of fundamental research must be further enhanced, and businesses must be encouraged to step up research and development, he said.
The premier highlighted the need to transfer outcomes in scientific and technological research to production more quickly, bolster the level of security for industry and supply chains and enhance the momentum of new growth engines.
Reforms to streamline administration and improve compliance oversight and services must be further deepened to reduce the burden on researchers so that they can focus more on their work, he added.
Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning and Zhao Leji, who are also members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, also joined panel discussions with political advisers on Saturday.