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April 20, 2011

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Wages at SOEs may go public

THE public may soon learn how much senior officials at state-owned companies are paid in Shanghai.

The Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said they are working on plans to enhance transparency and public supervision of incomes at state-funded operations in the city. The initiatives include publicizing salaries of high-ranking officials at such companies as well as reports of how the commission values their work performance.

The initiative has come in response to mounting calls from the public who want authorities to address the income gap between leaders and staff at state-owned companies and to prevent managers from being paid unfairly high salaries.

The commission said top leaders at 75 state-owned enterprises in Shanghai, such as chairmen and presidents, were paid an average of 696,100 yuan in 2009, about 10 times the salary of employees at these companies.

While the average income for top executives dropped 0.22 percent in 2009 from 2008, average staff received a 9.56 percent pay raise at the same time.

Despite the slight drop in 2009, incomes of chief officials at these state-owned companies had risen continuously over the previous years, the commission said.

"The overall trend of rising salaries for executives is still under control, meaning the year-on-year growth rate of their incomes is still lower than that of increases in revenue and that of pay raises for staff," commission officials said in a report in response to public calls for better transparency and supervision.

To rein in income gaps, the central government has ruled that pay raises for state-owned company officials should be slower than that of ordinary workers.

The local watchdog said some company leaders had abused their power by setting their own salaries or granting themselves extra pay. The commission did not name the companies where this abuse of power occurred.

About half of local companies are state-owned and together they contribute about 25 percent of the city's GDP.

Some members of the city's political advisory body said the lack of transparency at state-owned enterprises has allowed top officials to earn more than they deserve. They submitted a joint proposal calling for improved transparency.

In 2009, the average leader of state-owned enterprises directly supervised by the central government earned 680,000 yuan, according to the state watchdog.


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