The NPC & (Some) Super Ministries

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There has been much talk of the current National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, but a good update is provided by the Jamestown Foundation and (former South China Morning Post editor) Willy Lam. He notes:

    “The Chinese leadership at the ongoing National People’s Congress (NPC) has announced tough measures to rein in inflation and to promote government efficiency. In their talk to deputies in the two-week-long parliamentary session, however, Premier Wen Jiabao and his senior colleagues appeared to have made significant compromises to myriad vested interests and power blocs.”

“Stability” and “taming inflation” are key, related, concerns but there are pressures to remain “appropriately flexible” in monetary policy. And then the “super ministries”:

    “Another hot initiative at this NPC, the creation of several “super-ministries,” has also met unexpected difficulties. This is despite the fact that Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) member Li Keqiang, a Hu protégé who is expected to be endorsed executive vice-premier at the end of the parliamentary session, has been put in charge of restructuring the central government. The State Council boasts 28 ministries and a few dozen departments. Several “super-ministries” or “super-commissions” will be formed to curtail sinecures and expenditures—and more importantly, to improve administrative efficacy.

    …On Tuesday, the State Council presented to the NPC the final draft of its restructured units. A National Energy Commission will be set up to coordinate policymaking in this complicated and fast-changing arena. A Ministry of Industry and Information will be established out of the merger of units including the Ministry of Information Industry, the State Council Informatization Office, and the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Likewise, the Ministry of Communications, civil aviation authorities and the postal services will be folded into a new Ministry of Transportation. The State Environmental Protection Agency is to be upgraded into a Ministry of Environmental Protection. Finally, the Ministry of Personnel and the Ministry of Labor and Social Securities will be combined to form a Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (Xinhua, March 11; Straits Times, March 12).

    The restructuring exercises, however, have proven dissatisfactory due to resistance from vested bureaucratic interests. The newly created National Energy Commission will not have jurisdiction over the three state oil and gas monopolies as well as other government-controlled energy and electricity conglomerates. The Ministry of Railways has refused to become part of the Ministry of Transportation.

    The revamped State Council will still have 27 ministries, just one less than before. Most importantly, the establishment of the one super-ministry that is deemed crucial to improving macro-management of the economy—the proposed National Finance Work Commission (NFWC)—has been delayed indefinitely.”

Reform is easier said than done, but in this 30th year of China’s reform and opening up, it is clear that even a lot of the hard jobs get there in the end…

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One Response to “The NPC & (Some) Super Ministries”

  1. Johnkad Says:

    It is all very admirable what China is trying to do to develop its economy. I currently represent a business electricity supplier and I think China would one of potential markets. I wonder how they are dealing with the criticism about conservation and sustainable development.

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