Master plan in the making for 'go west' drive
VIVIEN PIK-KWAN CHAN
The central Government will announce in October a full set of measures
to push ahead the massive "go west" development programme, a senior
official said yesterday.
Li Zibin, vice-minister of State Development and Planning Commission,
said the State Council had studied proposals from local governments
and was prepared to put forward a comprehensive set of policies in
"The policies would cover a wide spectrum of issues including
finances, taxation and land provision for relevant projects," said Mr
Li, who is also deputy head of a special office set up to oversee the
"go west" programme.
Mr Li, formerly the mayor of Shenzhen, was quoted by Xinhua as saying
the new policies would also cover investment, pricing, use of foreign
capital and foreign trade.
Beijing announced the "go west" scheme last year, promising to inject
billions of yuan to reshape the economy of nine provinces and one city
in the northwest. Although senior officials have said the plan would
offer lucrative business opportunities, many domestic and foreign
investors want to see more concrete and comprehensive details in
support of the programme.
"Special attention would be given to state enterprise rejuvenation.
Enterprises with potential will use domestic and foreign capital to
reform their business so that they can become the key players in the
'go west' programme," Mr Li said.
The new policies will be included in the Government's 10th five-year
The vice-minister said the new policies indicated the central
Government was determined to go ahead with the "go west" programme
which covers some of the mainland's politically sensitive areas and
the country's most underdeveloped hinterland.
Xinhua said the large number of infrastructure projects under
construction in these provinces this year cost about 32.6 billion yuan
They included 78 large and medium projects such as preparations for a
gas pipeline linking Xinjiang with Shanghai, a railway for Tibet and
The "go west" scheme also aims to address basic issues such as the
so-called "brain drain" in the northwest hinterland. The China Daily
ran a survey yesterday which showed that, in the past two decades,
40,000 professionals had left Xinjiang - one of the provinces covered
by the scheme - while only about 7,000 had moved in.
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