REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2019 PLAN FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND ON THE 2020 DRAFT PLAN FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Delivered at the Third Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress on May 22, 2020
National Development and Reform Commission
The National Development and Reform Commission has been entrusted by the State Council to deliver this report on the implementation of the 2019 plan and on the 2020 draft plan for national economic and social development to the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) for your deliberation. The Commission also invites comments from members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Implementation of the 2019 Plan for National Economic and Social Development
In 2019, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, as well as the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, all regions and departments fully implemented the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the second, third, and fourth plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee. We raised our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment; increased our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and resolutely upheld General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely upheld the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership.
We faithfully executed the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, implemented the Report on the Work of the Government and the 2019 Plan for National Economic and Social Development approved at the Second Session of the 13th NPC, and adopted the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee’s suggestions based on its review of the 2019 plan. We followed the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, continued to apply the new development philosophy, advanced supply-side structural reform as our main task, pursued high-quality development, and took solid steps to ensure stability on six fronts.* We coordinated efforts to maintain stable growth, promote reform, make structural adjustments, improve people’s lives, guard against risks, and maintain stability.
(*The six fronts refer to employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment, and expectations.)
The main targets and tasks in economic and social development for the year were accomplished, and progress in achieving the main targets listed in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) met our expectations. All of these successes laid a crucial foundation for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
1. We conducted well-conceived macro regulation and kept major economic indicators within an appropriate range.
We strengthened range-based, targeted, well-timed, and precision regulation, stepped up coordination between policies, and improved the management of expectations, thus promoting stable and healthy economic growth.
1) Major macroeconomic targets were achieved.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 99.1 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.1%, which was consistent with the projected target. A total of 13.52 million urban jobs were created, and the year-end survey-based and registered urban unemployment rates were 5.2% and 3.62% respectively. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2.9%. A basic equilibrium was maintained with regard to the balance of payments, and foreign exchange reserves were kept at over US$ 3 trillion.
2) Counter-cyclical macro policy regulation proved to be effective.
With the focus on cutting taxes and fees, we implemented a proactive fiscal policy with greater intensity and better performance, continued to improve the structure of government spending, and ensured sufficient funding for major areas such as the improvement of living standards.
Revenue in the national general public budget was 19.04 trillion yuan, an increase of 3.8%; expenditures totaled 23.89 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.1%; and the fiscal deficit was 2.76 trillion yuan, the same as the budgeted figure. Tax and fee reductions totaled 2.36 trillion yuan over the year. We appropriately expanded the range of uses for special local government bonds and quickened the pace of bond issuance.
We maintained a prudent monetary policy with an appropriate level of intensity. Counter-cyclical regulation continued to have an effect, and the credit structure continued to improve, while the credit supply to the real economy, particularly to micro and small businesses and private enterprises, was increased further. At the end of 2019, growth in the M2 money supply was 8.7%, and aggregate financing grew by 10.7%.
We made greater efforts to implement the policy of prioritizing employment, as well as the policy of refunding unemployment insurance premiums, and increased support for enterprises in keeping employment stable. A stable employment situation was generally maintained with regard to key groups such as college graduates, rural migrant workers, and demobilized military personnel.
2. We moved forward with supply-side structural reform and promoted the formation of a strong domestic market.
We adhered to our principles of consolidating the gains made in the five priority tasks, strengthening the dynamism of micro entities, upgrading industrial chains, and ensuring unimpeded flows in the economy. We consistently advanced industrial restructuring, and worked hard to keep circulation dynamic in order to ensure that market supply meets demand.
1) Supply-side structural reform in agriculture was advanced.
We made sustained efforts to ensure sufficient grain production, maintaining total grain output at over 650 million metric tons for the fifth year in a row. We adopted a strategy for securing the supply of major agricultural products and implemented a scheme to revitalize the production of soybeans. Functional zones for grain production and protective areas for the production of major agricultural products were established. Farmland irrigation and water conservancy continued to improve, with the total area of high-quality cropland increasing by 5.33 million hectares and the total area of farmland covered by efficient water-saving irrigation increasing by 1.33 million hectares.
We continued our efforts to prevent and control African swine fever and accelerate the recovery of hog production, and improved the system for the production, supply, storage, and sale of vegetables.
We refined the policy for setting minimum prices for state grain purchases and the policy for guaranteeing base prices for cotton. We advanced reform of the system for the state purchase and storage of major agricultural products and the reserve system for important agricultural supplies. Cold-chain logistics and storage facilities for agricultural products witnessed rapid development.
We continuously promoted industrial integration in rural areas, resulting in the establishment of 107 modern agriculture industrial parks and 210 demonstration parks for integrated industrial development in rural areas. We also accelerated the formulation and improvement of a new policy framework to support and protect agriculture.
2) Transformation and upgrading of manufacturing picked up pace.
We rolled out policies and measures to promote high-quality development of the manufacturing sector and released the Catalog of Industrial Structural Adjustments (2019).
We continued to employ market- and law-based methods to cut outmoded coal production capacity by around 100 million metric tons, prudently moved forward with the merging and reorganization of steel enterprises, and implemented major petrochemical projects. We organized a new series of technological transformation projects, and promoted the demonstration and application of newly-developed equipment that was made in China such as Chinese standard type-A subway cars.
3) Solid steps were taken to promote high-quality development of the service sector.
We introduced policies and measures on high-quality development of the service sector and transformation and upgrading of traditional service industries, stepped up the development of new forms and new models of business, and promoted the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern services.
We supported the development of platforms for generic technology R&D, industrial design, and the industrial internet.
4) More support was provided to help reduce costs in the real economy.
The rate of value added tax (VAT) was lowered from 16% to 13% in manufacturing and several other industries, and from 10% to 9% in industries such as transportation and construction. We implemented general-benefit tax cuts for micro and small businesses, raising the VAT threshold from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan in monthly sales for small-scale taxpayers. We enabled all provincial-level regions to reduce the ratio of enterprise contributions to workers’ basic old-age insurance to 16%, and extended for another year the policy of temporary reduction of premiums for unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. We deepened reforms to liberalize interest rates, with overall financing costs being notably reduced throughout society.
We settled overdue payments of 664.7 billion yuan owed by government departments and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to private enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We further cut the number of items in the catalog of government-set business service fees, and cancelled or lowered some administrative charges.
The price of electricity for general industrial and commercial businesses was cut by another 10% on average, thus reducing electricity costs for businesses by 84.6 billion yuan for the year. We helped businesses save 79 billion yuan by enabling them to buy electricity directly from power generation companies.
We lowered the prices for refined oil products, natural gas city gate prices, and prices for natural gas transmission through trans-provincial pipelines, lightening the burden on consumers by approximately 65 billion yuan. Through rescinding or cutting railway charges, port charges, and civil airport charges, we helped reduce the burden on businesses by more than 10 billion yuan.
5) New growth areas in consumption that benefit the people continued to expand.
We introduced several policies and measures to speed up commodity distribution and facilitate consumption, to improve the quality and expand the size of the domestic services sector, to unlock consumption potential in the areas of culture and tourism, to encourage fitness and sports consumption, and to promote the development of “internet-plus social services.” We stepped up support for nighttime consumption, and encouraged the purchase of new automobiles, home appliances, and electronic products to replace old ones.
Comprehensive demonstrations for introducing e-commerce into rural areas were carried out. Express delivery depots in rural areas exceeded 30,000, thus covering 96.6% of all townships and towns.
Total annual retail sales of consumer goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.0%. Total online retail sales nationwide reached 10.6 trillion yuan, an increase of 16.5%, with sales of goods increasing by 19.5% and accounting for 20.7% of the total retail sales of consumer goods. We successfully organized a series of activities for the 2019 Chinese Brands Day.
6) We appropriately expanded effective investment in key areas.
We published the Regulations on Government Investment, and lowered, as appropriate, capital contribution requirements for projects in priority areas. We improved the reserve mechanisms for major projects, and actively promoted the construction of projects funded by special bonds. We carried out public-private partnership (PPP) projects in a well-regulated and orderly way, and encouraged the participation of non-governmental capital in key areas to shore up points of weakness. Out of 172 major water conservancy projects, construction has already begun on 144 projects.
The Plan for Developing China’s Strengths in Transportation was published. The construction of 23 national logistics hubs was steadily advanced. The preliminary work for the Chengdu-Lhasa railway progressed steadily. Beijing Daxing International Airport began operation. The construction of large hydropower stations such as Wudongde and Baihetan was accelerated.
By the end of 2019, the total length of in-service railways exceeded 139,000 kilometers, including 35,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines, the number of civil airports in service totaled 235, the total length of power grids of 220 KV and above increased by 34,000 kilometers, and trunk oil and gas pipelines increased by 4,000 kilometers.
The fixed-asset investment for the year (excluding investment by rural households) rose by 5.4%, with investment from non-governmental sources growing by 4.7%, while the composition of investment witnessed a continuous improvement, with investment in high-tech industry and the social domain up 17.3% and 13.2% respectively.
3. We made an all-out effort to focus on key areas, address inadequacies, and solve challenging problems, with major progress being made in the three critical battles.
We made substantial progress in targeted poverty alleviation, secured an overall improvement in the quality of the environment, and effectively prevented and controlled financial risks.
1) We made solid progress in poverty alleviation.
We worked hard to eliminate poverty through the development of local industries and through boosting employment and consumption. We pooled resources to resolve outstanding issues with regard to ensuring adequate food and clothing, as well as access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing for poor rural populations in areas of extreme poverty such as the three regions and three prefectures.
We helped 7.33 million registered poor households renovate their dilapidated houses, and completed the construction of 35,000 resettlement areas, comprising more than 2.6 million units of housing that can accommodate 9.47 million registered poor people who have been relocated from inhospitable areas, thereby essentially completing the task set in the 13th Five-Year Plan one year ahead of schedule. We continued to increase follow-up industry-led support and employment assistance, and effectively advanced dedicated poverty alleviation efforts.
Over the course of the year, China’s rural poor decreased by an additional 11.09 million, with 344 counties having been lifted out of poverty and the poverty headcount ratio having dropped to 0.6%. By the end of 2019, 97% of rural residents living below the current poverty line having lifted themselves out of poverty, and 94% of poor counties having been removed from the poverty list. As a result, regional poverty was largely eradicated.
2) We made strong headway in both environmental protection and pollution prevention and control.
We made solid progress in keeping our skies blue, our waters clear, and our land pollution-free. The annual average concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) decreased by 2.4% in the cities at and above prefecture level that fell short of the national standards. The proportion of surface water with a quality rating of Grade III or higher stood at 74.9%. The non-fossil fuel share of the total energy consumption reached 15.3%, with this target set in the 13th Five-Year Plan being met one year ahead of schedule.
The central government launched the second round of environmental inspections as scheduled. We put in place the system of river chiefs and lake chiefs. The environmental improvement of county-level water sources was essentially completed and nearly 87% of black, malodorous bodies of water in cities at or above prefecture level were cleaned up.
We strictly blocked illegal waste imports, and registered a year-on-year reduction of 40.4% in solid waste imports. We also carried out trials for a No-Waste Cities initiative.
We implemented the emissions permit system at a faster pace, and introduced the Catalog of Green Industries (2019). We launched initiatives to control both the total amount and the intensity of energy consumption, and to promote nationwide water conservation and eco-friendly lifestyles. Energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 2.6%, and water consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP dropped by 6.1%.
We improved the system for protecting natural forests, allowed more marginal farmland to return to forest and grassland, and took coordinated steps to control desertification and prevent the spread of stony deserts. We launched trials of comprehensive ecological compensation. Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP decreased by 4.1%.
3) We effectively prevented and controlled major risks in the financial sector.
We made steady efforts to defuse risks related to the hidden debts of local governments and the debts of enterprises, and succeeded in curbing excessively rapid growth of the macro-leverage ratio. We effectively addressed the disorderly growth of shadow banking, made significant progress in defusing risks in some high-risk financial institutions, particularly in small and medium-sized banks, and addressed the risks related to internet finance and other financial risks that impact a large number of people. The operations of the financial market were stable and orderly, and the foreign exchange market and the RMB exchange rate remained generally stable, while the financial regulatory system was further improved.
4. We pursued the innovation-driven development strategy and enhanced our capacity for scientific and technological innovation.
We deepened reform of the management system for science and technology, and intensified support for basic research and application-oriented basic research. China’s spending on R&D amounted to 2.19% of GDP, while the contribution made by advances in science and technology to economic growth hit 59.5%.
1) The pace of independent innovation increased.
We saw a constant stream of significant scientific and technological advances throughout the year: The Chang’e-4 lunar probe successfully landed on the far side of the moon; the deployment of the core constellation of the Beidou-3 global navigation system was completed; the launch of commercial 5G operations was brought forward; the Long March-5 Y3 carrier rocket was successfully launched; and China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier Shandong was commissioned.
We continued implementing major projects of the Sci-Tech Innovation 2030 Agenda and major national science and technology programs, and started construction on a number of major science and technology infrastructure projects such as the High Energy Photon Source.
We made steady progress in pilot reforms of comprehensive innovation, with 169 preliminary trials being completed.
Significant headway was made in turning Beijing and Shanghai into innovation centers for science and technology, and the initiative to develop the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area into an international science and technology innovation center got off to a smooth start. We expedited the construction of comprehensive national science centers in Huairou in Beijing, Zhangjiang in Shanghai, and Hefei in Anhui, along with the planning for another such center in the Greater Bay Area.
2) We stepped up our efforts to foster new drivers of growth.
We started construction of a national pilot zone to boost the innovation-driven development of the digital economy. We coordinated efforts to advance major IT application projects, beginning with a number of major projects to build an IT-enabled government as required in the 13th Five-Year Plan. We also undertook projects for the development of clusters of strategic emerging industries.
3) We continued to inspire enthusiasm for innovation, business startups, and creativity.
We piloted the contract system for research project funding, along with the “green channel” program. We ensured the success of 2019 National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week. By the end of 2019, more than 225,000 new- and high-tech enterprises and more than 151,000 small and medium-sized sci-tech businesses had been established across the country, with a year-on-year increase of approximately 24% and 15% respectively. China rose to 14th place in the Global Innovation Index 2019, with an average of at least 10,000 new businesses being registered per day in 2019.
5. We thoroughly and effectively implemented major strategies and achieved higher levels of coordination between urban and rural development and the development of different regions.
We promoted effective implementation of key strategies regarding rural revitalization and coordinated regional development, improved the quality of new urbanization, and reduced the disparities in development between rural and urban areas and between regions.
1)We stepped up the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy.
Work began on the major projects, plans, and actions defined in the Strategic Agenda for Rural Revitalization. Rural areas saw the continuous emergence of new forms of business, including rural tourism and farm-based recreation.
We continued to promote reduced yet more efficient use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Efforts to recycle resources from livestock and poultry waste and crop straw were stepped up.
With notable improvements in rural roads and water and power supply and the full launch of the campaign to control pollution in agriculture and in rural areas, the improvement of rural living environments was accelerated. Efforts to develop rural culture and improve rural governance were intensified.
2) The quality of new urbanization was steadily increased.
We carried out policies and measures for building sound institutions and mechanisms for integrated urban-rural development.
Over 10 million people from rural areas were granted urban residency, constituting significant progress toward the goal of granting urban residency to 100 million people without local household registrations. The percentage of permanent urban residents reached 60.60%, while the percentage of registered urban residents reached 44.38%.
The ability of principal cities and city clusters to attract people to them gradually increased, and modern metropolitan areas grew in an orderly fashion. Breakthroughs were made in elevating very large towns to cities, while the development of towns with distinct features was further regulated.
3) We accelerated the development of new mechanisms for coordinated regional development.
Policy frameworks for supporting the development of the western region, the revitalization of northeast China, the rise of the central region, and the spearhead development of the eastern region were further improved.
Steady and substantial progress was made in promoting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, with construction starting on Xiongan New Area. Positive results were achieved with regard to addressing prominent environmental issues in the Yangtze Economic Belt. The policies for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were further refined. The Plan for Integrated Development of the Yangtze River Delta was published, and construction began on a demonstration zone for eco-friendly development in the delta. We began drafting the plan for the ecological conservation and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin.
We stepped up work on revitalizing and developing regions with unique features such as old revolutionary base areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, border areas, and impoverished areas. One-to-one assistance programs were also scaled up. Widespread construction efforts began on demonstration zones for developing the marine economy.
6. We promoted market-oriented reforms and further energized market entities.
We upheld and improved the basic socialist economic system, and made significant progress with regard to reform of key areas and sectors.
1) The business environment was further optimized.
We further pushed forward with reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. The Regulations on Improving the Business Environment were promulgated, demonstrating the efforts China is making to build a business environment evaluation system. We carried out business environment evaluations in 41 cities nationwide.
The Negative List for Market Access (2019) was published and the number of items listed was reduced to 131. We worked to ensure that investment approval is conducted in line with relevant procedures, and is accessible online. The approval procedures for construction projects were further simplified.
Interdepartmental oversight conducted through the random selection of both inspectors and inspection targets and the prompt release of results was rolled out incrementally. We accelerated the formulation of the list of items for the Internet Plus Oversight initiative. The functions and services of the national platform for sharing credit information were improved. We also accelerated the setting up of a new, credit-based oversight mechanism.
A national online platform for government services was launched on a trial basis. The nationwide network for financial credit information database services was set up.
2) Reforms in the areas of mixed ownership, the protection of property rights, and the nurturing of entrepreneurial spirit were pushed forward in a coordinated manner.
Pilot reforms of mixed ownership were carried out in the fourth group of 160 SOEs. We strengthened the protection of property and intellectual property rights and made breakthroughs in reviewing and correcting wrongly adjudicated cases involving property rights. Steady progress was made in dedicated campaigns to address property rights disputes involving the government.
The policies and measures for supporting reform and development of private enterprises and promoting healthy development of SMEs were promulgated. A sound mechanism for entrepreneurs to participate in enterprise-related policy formulation was established.
3) We stepped up reforms for the market-based allocation of factors of production.
We formulated guidelines on institutional reform to promote the social mobility of labor and talent.
We revised the Securities Law, set up the Science and Technology Innovation Board and launched trials for a registration-based IPO system, and reformed and improved the loan prime rate (LPR) mechanism.
We gave greater say to research institutes and universities with regard to their research, piloted the practice of granting researchers ownership of or permanent use rights over scientific and technological output at work, and set up a service system for technology transfer.
The Land Administration Law and the Urban Real Estate Administration Law were revised. The secondary markets for the transfer, leasing, and mortgage of use rights for land for construction purposes were further improved, while the systems for the sale of land designated for industrial purposes through various means and for ensuring adequate market supply of such land were made more robust.
4) Reforms in key areas were deepened.
The China Oil & Gas Piping Network Corporation was founded. We opened up markets for upstream oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
Reform measures for dividing fiscal authority and spending responsibilities between central and local governments in the areas of education, science and technology, and transportation were rolled out.
More and more electricity transactions were market-based, and steady progress was made in reforms to raise the number of electricity distributors as well as in trials for the spot trading of electricity. The reform of the price-setting mechanism for on-grid electricity from coal-fired power plants, the pricing reform of on-grid electricity generated from wind power and photovoltaic power, the comprehensive reform of the pricing of water used in agriculture, and price reform in the transportation industry were all steadily advanced.
The China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. and the China Post Group Co., Ltd. were established by means of restructuring. In addition, reforms for cutting links between industry associations and chambers of commerce and the government were carried out across the board.
7. We continued to expand high-level opening up and worked faster to develop an open economy.
We promoted opening up across more sectors and in a more thorough fashion, and stepped up efforts to develop new strengths in international economic cooperation and competition.
1) Joint efforts to advance the Belt and Road Initiative made solid headway.
We successfully held the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. China has so far signed 200 cooperation agreements with 138 countries and 30 international organizations for jointly advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Smooth progress was achieved in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other projects. Active progress was made in key projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed line, the China-Laos rail line, and Gwadar port. The China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline began operating. We established mechanisms for third-party market cooperation with 14 countries, including France, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
The BRI International Green Development Coalition was launched. Steady progress was made in developing the Digital Silk Road and Silk Road E-Commerce.
China-Europe freight train services registered a total of over 20,000 trips, incorporating 57 cities in 18 European countries, and the ratio of loaded containers reached 94%. The General Plan for New Land-Sea Transit Routes for the Western Region was published.
2) Foreign trade saw stable, higher-quality growth.
We carried out the Guidelines on Promoting High-Quality Development of Trade. We successfully hosted the second China International Import Expo. Significant progress was made in the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Imports and exports between China and the EU and ASEAN countries, and between China and other BRI countries both grew rapidly. The export of high-value-added products such as the integrated circuits and knowledge-intensive services continued to see rapid growth.
We built an additional 24 integrated experimental zones for cross-border e-commerce, and steadily advanced trials of the market procurement trade methods as well as trials for the innovative development of the trade in services. We also raised the quality of development with regard to special customs regulation zones such as integrated bonded areas.
3)The utilization of foreign capital continuously increased.
The Foreign Investment Law and the regulations regarding its implementation were enacted. We boosted efforts to attract investment in a broader range of sectors, and to encourage foreign investment in the manufacturing sector and producer services. We supported the relocation of foreign-invested industries to the central and western regions.
The two editions of the 2019 negative list for foreign investment, one concerning the whole country and the other concerning pilot free trade zones, were reduced to 40 and 37 items respectively. The restrictions on the shareholding ratio and the scope of operations of foreign-invested financial institutions in China were relaxed, expanding the bidirectional opening up of the financial market.
We promoted innovation and upgrading of state-level economic and technological development zones. We improved the management of foreign-debt registration for enterprises, and strengthened efforts to guard against foreign debt risks in key industries. China’s utilized foreign investment totaled US$ 138.1 billion over the year.
4) Positive results were achieved in developing pilot free trade zones.
We expanded the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone by setting up a Lin’gang Special Area, and established an additional six pilot zones including one in Shandong, thus having established pilot free trade zones in all coastal provincial-level regions and in border areas for the first time. We applied 49 institutional innovation practices of free trade zones across the country in 2019, bringing the total number of such practices to 223. The Hainan Free Trade Port saw rapid development.
5) Outward investment grew steadily.
We implemented the Guide on Compliance Management for Enterprises’ Overseas Operations, as Chinese equipment, technology, standards, and services made steady progress in “going global.” Non-financial outward direct investment reached US$ 110.6 billion in 2019. We expanded channels for cross-border financing of the RMB and advanced the internationalization of the RMB in an orderly manner.
8. We worked to safeguard and improve the people’s wellbeing, ensuring that our people lead happier, more satisfying, and more secure lives.
Remaining committed to a people-centered philosophy of development, we worked to ensure that basic living needs are met, especially for those most in need, and that the policies for improving living standards are implemented in full.
1) We stepped up efforts to keep employment stable and promote growth in incomes.
We implemented the employment-first policy, and issued guidelines on further ensuring stable employment. We provided stronger support for key groups and people having difficulties finding jobs, improved public employment services in a comprehensive manner, and facilitated the free flow of employees so that they have more job opportunities.
In 2019, 55.2 billion yuan from unemployment insurance funds was refunded in order to help 1.15 million enterprises maintain stable employment, benefiting 72.9 million employees. A total of 2 billion yuan of upskilling subsidies in 1.26 million payments from the unemployment insurance funds was distributed to insured workers, while over 100 billion yuan from the surplus in unemployment insurance funds was spent on upskilling programs, and the yearly target of providing 15 million training places was surpassed. We also rolled out a system for life-long vocational skills training, and continued to augment the development of public vocational training centers.
We used a combination of measures to increase personal incomes, strived to increase the salaries of workers, especially those working on the front lines of production, and carried out oversight and inspections on the resolution of the wage arrears problem. Per capita disposable personal income exceeded 30,000 yuan.
2) The social security system was further improved.
A total of 968 million people are now covered by basic old-age insurance schemes. We raised the centrally-regulated share of enterprise employees’ basic old-age insurance funds from 3% to 3.5%, and steadily increased basic pension benefits for enterprise retirees.
We carried out the work to transfer a portion of state capital into social security funds nationwide. We further improved the basic medical insurance and serious disease insurance systems for rural and non-working urban residents, and made solid strides in guaranteeing medical insurance for poor people and in adjusting the catalog of medicines covered by medical insurance.
Worker’s compensation benefits were paid out to 1.94 million employees who have suffered work-related injuries and their dependents. We increased unemployment insurance benefits steadily. In 2019, 4.612 million unemployed people received unemployment benefits for varying durations, totaling 1,393 yuan per person per month on average.
We made steady progress in establishing a unified system for subsistence allowances in rural and urban areas, improved the dynamic adjustment mechanism for subsistence allowance standards, and ensured that the system for providing assistance and basic necessities to people in extreme poverty was fully implemented.
We promoted the renovation of old residential communities in cities and towns, began renovations on 3.16 million units of housing in run-down urban areas, and rapidly developed the housing rental market in large and medium-sized cities.
3) Significant progress was made in addressing inadequacies in public services, shoring up points of weakness, and enhancing the quality of service.
Government budgetary spending on education continued to exceed 4% of GDP. We continued to increase funding for education in poor areas and weak sectors. The retention rate in nine-year compulsory education hit 94.8%, while the gross enrollment ratio for senior secondary education reached 89.5%, and the gross enrollment ratio for higher education exceeded 50%, with the goal of increasing student enrollments in vocational colleges by 1 million being achieved. We launched trials of a national initiative for integrating industry and vocational education of different types at different levels.
We launched the Healthy China initiative, advanced trials for the development of regional medical service centers, and promoted trials for centralizing the procurement and use of medicines. We published the Guidelines on Preserving, Innovating, and Developing Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We further refined policies for developing elderly care services. We continued to strengthen the protection of the rights and interests of women and children, regulated the establishment and management of childcare and early childhood education agencies, and promoted the development of care services for children under the age of three.
We continued to strengthen regulation in key areas such as the food and drug sectors. Access to basic public cultural services became more equitable, and the development of the Great Wall, Grand Canal, and Long March national cultural parks was pushed forward in a coordinated manner.
We offered greater support for building public fitness centers. Construction of stadiums and gymnasiums for the 2022 Winter Olympics proceeded in an orderly way.
The National Medium- and Long-Term Plan on Population Aging was published. The country’s total population at the end of 2019 reached 1.40005 billion, with a natural population growth rate of 3.34‰.
In assessing economic and social development in 2019, major targets for economic growth, employment, CPI, and the balance of payments, as well as targets concerning innovation, resource conservation, environmental protection, and people’s wellbeing were satisfactorily met.
Due to the rapid growth of steel, building materials, non-ferrous metals, chemicals, and the service sector, one of the obligatory targets—energy consumption per unit of GDP saw an actual reduction of only 2.6%, falling short of the projected target of around 3%. However, the total reduction from 2016 to 2019 achieved a completion rate of 87.1% for the target set in the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and thus was in line with the scheduled reduction for this period.
Of the anticipatory targets, the value-added of primary industry, total retail sales of consumer goods, general government revenue, and urban per capita disposable income all fell short of expectations.
The projected growth in value-added of primary industry was around 3.5%, but the actual increase was only 3.1%. The main reason for this was the sharp decline in the output of pork and some other agricultural products, with a 21.3% reduction in pork output.
The expected growth for total retail sales of consumer goods was approximately 9.0%, but actual growth was only 8.0%. This was mainly due to the fact that there was a slowdown in the growth of traditional forms of consumption like automobiles and home appliances. Other new growth areas in consumer spending are still awaiting development.
General government revenue was projected to grow by 5.0%, but actually grew by only 3.8%, due to the larger-than-expected tax and fee cuts made to support the development of the real economy.
Urban per capita disposable income was set to grow essentially in step with economic growth, but the actual growth rate was 5.0%, which was lower than the 6.1% growth in GDP. This was mainly due to a slowdown in the growth of urban residents’ net incomes from business and property as well as larger price rises compared to the previous year.