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Expanding domestic demand will remain China’s long-term strategy for economic development, said Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at a press conference on Wednesday.
Consumption has played an increasingly important part in China’s growth story.
Zhang Ping, head of the NDRC during a press conference of the first session of the 12th NPC in Beijing [Xinhua]
In 2012, consumption contributed 51.8 per cent to the country’s GDP growth, overtaking the 50.4 per cent contributed by investment.
“We should increase people’s ability to consume by raising their incomes,” Ping said.
In cities, the government is aiming to create more jobs and raise salaries in a way that will not damage enterprises’ efficiency, Zhang said.
In rural areas, the government will raise the state purchase price of farm produce in 2013.
Public spending on education, social security and health care will be increased as this would boost domestic consumption as well.
China’s 2013 central budget includes notable spending increases in education, health care, social security and public housing.
Zhang stressed that China still needs to spend more on infrastructure.
“The key is to choose the right direction,” he said.
Irrigation facilities, rural roads, power and water supplies in rural areas, as well as utilities in cities, will also see increased government spending, the nation’s top economic planner added.
In underdeveloped west China, the government will continue to build highways, railways and airports, he added.
Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao said in a report presented yesterday that the Chinese government must further relax controls over market access for non-governmental investment.
The president-in-waiting and Communist Party of China (CPC) chief Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for courage like “wading through a dangerous shoal” to help deepen reforms in the country’s development.