China’s new five-year plan forecasts lower, but more sustainable growth

7 March 2006

Beijing, China, 07 March – China’s economic growth will be slower from now until 2010, but the government has pledged it will be more equally distributed and more environment friendly, China’s minister for economic planning, Ma Kai, speaking Monday in Beijing.

After average growth of 9.5 percent between 2001 and 2005, the Chinese government has forecast 7.5 percent average annual growth for the five-year period between 1006 and 2011, Ma said in a speech to members of China’s National Popular Assembly (NPA), the country’s parliament.

The new five-year plan also aims to reduce income inequality between the population living in cities and those living in rural areas, as well as reflecting greater concerns for the environmental price being paid for economic development – garbage all over China, most of its rivers, lakes and seas in the country are polluted and unfit for human use and cities which are surrounded, for days on end by clouds of polluting gases.

The new designation for the plan as of this year is “five-year program” rather than “five-year plan” as a way of “symbolically moving away from the planned economy,” the New China official news agency reported, Reflecting a change in the government’s approach to its economic strategy.

The average annual income of China’s 745 million rural residents – 57 percent of the population – is 3,255 yuan while in urban areas its stands at 10,439 yuan. (macauhub)