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UPDATED: July 19, 2013
China's Government Spends Less in 2012

Less money was spent on official expenses last year, according to final account reports issued by Central Government departments on Thursday.

Spending on overseas trips and official vehicles and receptions stood at 7.43 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) last year, representing a decrease of 559 million yuan ($90.28 million) from the budget figure.

Spending on government-funded overseas trips stood at 1.95 billion yuan ($316.66 million), down 200 million yuan ($32.30 million).

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA), which took the lead in publicizing its final report among central government departments, spent 207.7 million yuan ($33.54 million) on overseas trips, vehicles and receptions, accounting for 98.3 percent of its budget.

The CMA attributed the cuts to the government's frugality and anti-corruption campaigns, as well as the impact of changes in international relations.

Since 2011, central government departments have been required to reveal the amount they spend on the "three official expenses," as they are often called, amid rising public calls for greater government transparency.

This year's final reports are more detailed than those of previous years.

"More detailed and informative reports enable the public to better understand the expenses," said Liu Jianwen, director of Peking University's Fiscal Law Research Center.

The State Council, or China's cabinet, issued a timetable for disclosing spending on the "three official expenses" on July 10, ordering provincial governments to disclose such information starting 2013 and municipal and county governments to disclose such information by 2015.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) issued a circular on July 7 ordering central government agencies to cut their general expenditures in 2013 by 5 percent.

Flagging sales for high-end liquor enterprises and restaurants in the first half of 2013 have underscored the government's push to fight extravagance and corruption.

"The disclosure of spending on the 'three expenses' will promote progress related to the disclosure of budgets and final reports, as well as government transparency in general," Liu said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2013)

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