China's Master plan in the making for 'go west' drive

Stephen E Philion philion at
Tue Aug 15 00:25:26 PDT 2000

SCMP Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Master plan in the making for 'go west' drive



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

economic plan.

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

(HK$30.3 billion).

They included 78 large and medium projects such as preparations for a

gas pipeline linking Xinjiang with Shanghai, a railway for Tibet and

electricity projects.

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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