Speech by Vice Minister Wei Jianguo at the Signing Ceremony of China/UNDP programme on Capacity Building on Support Pro-poor Fiscal Reform in China
Ladies and Gentlemen,!
Under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the programme on Capacity Building to Support Pro-poor Fiscal Reform in China, a programme of the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) of China, is to be signed today. On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I am very pleased to witness this important moment. I would like to congratulate on the signing and the inauguration of this programme and thank all parties concerned for their hard work and extensive cooperation in the course of the programme design. The signing of the programme is a continuation of the successful collaboration between China and the UN as well as other international agencies in the previous stage. It suggests that the cooperation in the field of fiscal reform has embarked on a new phase.
As we all know, since the 16th Party Congress, the Chinese government has set up the target of establishing a well-off society in an all round way along with the new scientific view of development. Against such a background, it becomes an important task in the years to come as to how to deepen the reform on the financial system and speed up the establishment of the public finance system, which is also a key element in realising the strategic goal of establishing a well-off society. The new scientific view of development requires us to value the human-oriented development strategy and pay attention to the coordinated development of the economy and the society. Therefore, in terms of government functions and the role of finance, we are required to transform the economic development-oriented government into a public service-oriented government, to transform the investment-based finance into public finance, to ensure that as the economy develops, the poor are given the rights and opportunities to basic education and basic medical services and to ensure that the low-income and disadvantaged population could benefit from the economic growth. Such transitions are part of a profound social reform. To undertake the reform, which requires meticulous designing and implementation, one must have the resolve and courage to overcome tremendous difficulties and obstacles, and study and learn from international experience and lessons. In this light, I would say that the signing and inauguration of the programme come at a right time.
Experience of international cooperation in the past suggests that to achieve the real benefits of international cooperation programmes, especially soft science programmes involving macro-control, we must adhere to the principle, which is to be demand-driven and consistent with the country's situation. To achieve this, colleagues in the Ministry of Finance and the SAT carried out systematic review of the history, status quo and some currently hot issues of the finance and taxation system of China in the course of programme design. Along with Chinese and foreign experts, they held extensive consultations and exchanges in regard with key issues of the programme, such as its objectives, strategies and activities. A consensus was finally reached, which identifies five subjects of the programme, including pro-poor fiscal policies, budget formulation and management, treasury and account management, tax laws and policies and capacity building for tax regulation. The designing process of the programme is in fact a process of building up mutual trust and mutual respect, of being practical and realistic, and of solidarity and cooperation. The programme document to be signed today is a result of the wisdom and hard work of all parties concerned. On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I would like to thank all the parties for the positive attitude and flexibility they have shown, thank the colleagues from the Ministry of Finance and the SAT for their efforts, the Chinese and foreign experts for their hard work and outstanding contributions, and of course, the UNDP and the DFID for their generous support for the programme.
I believe that given the attention paid by the Chinese government, the close cooperation and concerted efforts made by relevant departments in China, the support from the UNDP, the DFID and other international organisations in terms of funding, experience and technology, the international cooperation in the field of fiscal reform in China will definitely be fruitful. I wish the programme a great success!
Thank you all.