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Challenges are severe but opportunities still exist, says Hu

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Setting the direction: Chinese President Hu Jintao (left) with Premier Wen Jiabao at the Second Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on Thursday.
Setting the direction: Chinese President Hu Jintao (left) with Premier Wen Jiabao at the Second Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on Thursday.

China will be able to achieve 8 p.c. growth, says Wen

BEIJING: Chinese leaders joined deputies to the Second Session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, in deliberating the government work report by Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday and called for concerted efforts to overcome difficulties and achieve fresh development.

While joining NPC deputies from the eastern Jiangsu Province, President Hu Jintao said “challenges are really severe, opportunities still exist”, describing the current domestic and international situations.

It was a must to seize the opportunities, tackle the challenges and minimise the impact of the international financial crisis, said Mr. Hu. “[We] must break new ground by tackling challenges and achieve fresh development by overcoming difficulties,” he added.

While deliberating the report with lawmakers from Anhui Province, top legislator Wu Bangguo called for fully implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development, ensuring steady and relatively rapid economic growth and promoting people’s wellbeing. Premier Wen Jiabao, in his government work report to Parliament, said China would be able to achieve the economic growth target of about 8 per cent in 2009 if proper policies and measures were taken.

“As long as we adopt the right policies and appropriate measures and implement them effectively, we will be able to achieve this target,” Mr. Wen said.

“In China, a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, maintaining a certain growth rate for the economy is essential for expanding employment for both urban and rural residents, increasing people’s incomes and ensuring social stability,” said Mr. Wen.

“We are fully confident that we will overcome difficulties and challenges, and we have the conditions and ability to do so,” the Premier told nearly 3,000 lawmakers at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

Mr. Wen said the eight-percent target was proposed based on China’s need and ability.

Many deputies and political advisers who attended the session told Xinhua that the 8-per cent target was well-grounded, though might be difficult to achieve.The government pledged it will implement an even more proactive employment policy this year and allocate 42 billion yuan to offset unemployment caused by the global financial crisis.

“We will do everything in our power to stimulate employment,” said Mr. Wen while delivering the work report. He said priority will be given to finding jobs for university graduates and migrant workers.

China was yet to see the worst employment situation while its economy had shown signs of recovery, as the rebound of job creation was usually behind economic turnaround, said Li Yining, a leading Chinese economist with Peking University.

“The economy usually demand less labour after experiencing a crisis because it will see improved technologies, equipment and productivity,” said Mr. Li.

The urban unemployment rate rose to 4.2 per cent at the end of 2008, up 0.2 percentage points year-on-year.

The country aimed to keep its registered jobless rate below 4.6 per cent and provide 9 million new urban jobs this year, according to Mr. Wen’s report. The government would offer social security benefits and position subsidies for college graduates who take up jobs in public administration and public services at the community level, Mr. Wen said.

Domestic demand

The country would “give a full play” to the “leading role” of domestic demand, particularly consumer demand, in driving economic growth, Premier Wen Jiabao said.

To stimulate the economy against the crisis, China announced a 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package last November, slashed interest rates five times since last September and unveiled support plans for 10 key industries. Some of the measures are beginning to take effect. — Xinhua


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