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December 29, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Big spending plan for surging growth

SHANGHAI is to allocate 68 billion yuan (US$10.79 billion) to expand school facilities and improve the quality of education next year, Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday.

The initiative is aimed at boosting the city's educational capacity and quality as the number of migrant children moving to the city with their families grows.

"Next year's local government spending budget will be about 400 billion yuan. And we are planning to spend about 15 percent of the amount, translating into 60 billion yuan on improving the education sector," the mayor said on the final day of a two-day government session. Another 8 billion yuan will come from other government tax income, he said.

The money will be nearly double that spent for the same purpose in 2009, Han said.

Millions of migrant families are moving to work and live in Shanghai, creating great shortfalls in education capacity. The money will be used to improve campus facilities and build new schools, especially in suburban areas where many migrant families live.

Law-enforcement forces and public-service facilities in the city's outlying areas are also to be reinforced next year to match the rapid population growth in the suburbs. The mayor said thousands of police officers together with urban management team workers will be deployed next year to help improve public order and security in suburban districts.

Yu Zhengsheng, Shanghai Party Secretary, said at the same session that Shanghai needed to be prepared for fierce challenges in economic growth in the first quarter next year amid the global recession.

Yu called on local decision makers to continue advancing policies to help the city further "economic restructuring and innovation-driven developments."

He said local government departments should provide more help for developing businesses and also raise efficiency in screening major business and construction projects.

City government officials said Shanghai would expand and improve its business tax trial next year to benefit more enterprises. The trial means many companies from the service industry no longer need to pay a heavy operational tax. That will be replaced by a value-added tax, which will cut business costs.

"The new tax practice creates larger development space for the service industry. It also helps the service-industry products enter the manufacturing sector with cheaper costs. The service trade and headquarters of multinational corporations are to benefit from the tax change to gain better development opportunities," Yu told the session.

The city government leaders also said Shanghai would improve its appraisal system next year to streamline procedures for out-of-towners applying for permanent residency. Acts of bravery or those that helped people in need as well as professional expertise would be among the credentials for getting residency permits, which grant holders social welfare and medical care benefits.

Shanghai will continue to seek economic reconstructing through motivating the high-end service sector, including encouraging more multinational corporations to set up regional and global headquarters in Shanghai, they said.

The mayor also said the city was determined to improve Internet services by "substantially" lowering costs to improve the local business environment as well as benefiting ordinary citizens. Charges will continue to be eased over the next four years and will eventually be some of the lowest in the country, Han said.

Shanghai is likely to achieve 8 percent GDP growth this year with per-capita dispensable income improving nearly 14 percent, the mayor said. The number of foreign-invested businesses with headquarters based in Shanghai will reach around 930, the session heard.

Officials also said that Shanghai will continue to shut factories that use too much energy and cause pollution, as part of efforts to restructure its economy to focus on high-tech and green industries.


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