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Government Criticized for Lack of Fiscal Transparency

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Tsinghua University jointly conducted a study on “Fiscal Transparency.” The study indicated that the none of the 31 provincial governments and only 7 out of the 81 municipal governments studied passed the fiscal transparency test.

The report indicated that even though China executed the “Regulation on the Disclosure of Government Information” four years ago, both the provincial and municipal governments have been willing to share their budget decisions; however none of them has allowed their actual spending to be publicized.

The report also suggested that the budget information that was shared was overly simplified and hard to understand. According to Deng Shulian, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, the reason that the governments have overly simplified their budgets is that they know that some of the spending will not meet the governments’ requirements and because accountability measures are still lacking for those who fail to reveal their budget information.

Many expect that, at the upcoming 27th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People’s Congress, the budget law will go through its second phase. It will then require that government bodies reveal their spending related to work associated with overseas travel, auto expenses, and entertainment.

Source: Xinhua, June 16, 2012