$82M China rural funds idle – audit

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BEIJING: About 565 million yuan ($82.5 million) of rural funds earmarked for China’s poor regions had been found idle for over a year, according to the latest quarterly review by the National Audit Office (NAO).

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Of the idle funds, 256 million yuan had been unused for more than two years, said the NAO, which examined 1,320 poverty relief projects in 30 poor counties involving five billion yuan of funds.

Auditors also found 36.9 million yuan had been misused in seven provinces and that 34 poverty relief projects, involving 16.9 million yuan, had failed to achieve their expected performance.

In northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, two counties were found to have falsely removed 3,255 people, who had no access to safe drinking water or the rural health insurance scheme, from the list of the impoverished.

In addition, 23 counties had not fully implemented their poverty relief policies, while five counties had inaccurate or incomplete data on the impoverished population, involving 19,703 people, according to the NAO.

The government has put emphasis on efficient use of fiscal funds to support major social projects as the economy slows.

Poverty relief is high on China’s agenda. With a goal of eradicating poverty by 2020, China has been developing specialty industries, relocating people and extending social security coverage.

PNA/XINHUA

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