China's funding for small firms still not improved - auditor
(Corrects to fix number of firms in final paragraph to 3,248,
SHANGHAI, June 27 (Reuters) - China has still not
"fundamentally improved" the financing environment for small
firms despite a lending push by the central government, the head
of the country's auditing authority told parliament late on
China has been trying to make it easier for small firms to
get access to bank loans in a bid to rejuvenate its slowing
economy and weather a trade war with the United States.
The country's cabinet, the State Council, unveiled new
measures on Wednesday to cut financing costs for smaller firms.
However, Hu Zejun, head of China's National Audit Office,
said in an annual budget review submitted to the National
People's Congress and published late on Wednesday that the push
has yet to have a substantial impact.
"Due to risk prevention, there are still some problems for
bank financing, such as a relative high threshold (to obtain
loans), lengthy procedures, and a long waiting period," he said.
He said three of the big five Chinese commercial lenders had
also illegally charged 230 million yuan ($33.44 million) in
financing fees, "failing to ease the corporate burden" on firms.
The audit office also uncovered dozens of violations in the
disbursement of retirement funds and unemployment insurance,
with several officials accused of "misappropriating" millions of
yuan of state money.
As well, the audit revealed an imbalance between resource
development and ecological restoration, Hu said, noting that
3,248 firms in four provinces were found to have illegally
extracted 594 million cubic metres of water last year.
($1 = 6.8781 yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI and Cheng Leng in
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
First Published: 2019-06-27 02:44:43
Updated 2019-06-27 03:08:18
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