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January 31, 2013

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Independent overseer proposed for major public projects

AN independent, non-governmental body should be created to supervise costly government projects that sometimes are vulnerable to graft and quality problems, according to one of the 102 proposals that had been made at the Shanghai People's Congress as of yesterday.

Sheng Leiming, a deputy of the city's lawmaking body and a partner of the Zhongmao Law Firm, made the proposal jointly with 15 other deputies.

Sheng said such a body is needed for large projects that have a big influence on the environment and on people's lives.

"We should work out an effective way to supervise such projects, as they are usually heavy in capital investment, consume lots of resources, and closely related with local economic development and people's lives," Sheng said.

In an eight-page proposal, Sheng said the body would be responsible for the whole process, from the application to management of money and legal responsibility if the project turned out to be a failure.

Safeguards would be built into laws creating such bodies, the proposal said.

Many Chinese cities have used government financing agencies to boost economic growth, especially during the past four years of global economic downturn.

Using the government as a guarantor, the agencies financed projects such as urban infrastructure, creating high financial risks for the public and sometimes leading to poor-quality workmanship.


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