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Minister: China to reduce cost of economic growth, narrow yawning income gap

Source: Xinhuanet | 03-08-2007 08:54

Special Report:   2007 NPC & CPPCC sessions

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China will take measures to reduce the cost of economic growth and narrow a yawning income gap, said Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), here on Wednesday.

China is committed to the targets for saving energy and reducing pollutant emissions between 2006 and 2010, although it fell short of such targets for 2006, Ma said at a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).

The State Council will make annual reports on saving energy and reducing emissions to the NPC starting this year, and report on the overall progress made over the five years in the end, he said.

The top planning official also said China has taken a series of measures to narrow the income gap while admitting it is still yawning.

The country has been increasing investment in agriculture, rural areas and farmers to narrow the gap between rural and urban residents, and implementing the development strategy of west China to narrow the gap between west and east, Ma said.

A system of basic cost of living allowances for low-income people, set up to improve their living and working conditions, will expand to all rural areas across the country this year from the current 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, Ma added.

Urban per capita disposable income rose to 11,759 yuan last year, up from 343 yuan in 1978, and rural per capita net income grew to 3,587 yuan from 134 yuan, Ma said. Both were increasing at an annual rate of 6.7 percent during the years after adjusting for inflation.

In response to a question whether China will become a threat to global energy security, Ma said China has been able to meet the energy demand mainly on its own since 1978, and will be able to do so in the future.

"China is short of oil and natural gas, however, the consumption and import of these energy remains at a very low level," Ma said.

An average Chinese consumed 242 kg of oil in 2005, while the world's consumption per person stood at 590 kg, Japan 1.9 tons and the United States more than three tons, according to Ma.

China's import of oil per capita was 100 kg in 2005, while the world's per capita was 400 kg, Japan nearly 2 tons and the United States 2.1 tons, twenty times of the Chinese level, Ma said.

"China is not a threat to global energy security and instead is a favorable factor," Ma Kai said.

China is abundant in coal, and has the possibility to explore and find out more oil and natural gas, while there is plenty room for the use of clean and regenerative energy, the official added.

China has been making active efforts to establish oil reserves to ensure national energy and economy security and, in line with international practice, petroleum will be stored at oil bases by both government and enterprise, Ma said.


Editor:Du Xiaodan