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Streamlining government and delegating authorities March 16, 2018

Streamlining Government and Delegating Authorities

Streamlining government aims at eliminating overstaffing and consolidating duplicate or overlapping – and often mutually interfering government functions, so as to better address such problems as the inadequate provision of social public goods and services and the poor efficiency of the work of the government. Delegating authorities is intended to cut red tape that subjects an unnecessarily extensive array of business activities to a complex and lengthy government approval process. Such a move should free the government from unwarranted reach into areas it better stays away from to focus on what really falls within its purview, especially duties it is supposed to perform but has not performed adequately. The current Chinese administration has made it a top priority to accelerate the process of transforming government functions, streamlining government and delegating authorities. By the end of 2013, a total of 416 items originally requiring State Council review and approval had been reclassified as exempt from such review or sent to lower levels of the government for approval. More than 200 items were addressed in a similar manner in 2014. The key to transforming government functions is a right balance between delegation and the exercise of control. To delegate authorities is meant to inject more vitality into economic activities, rather than embracing an unqualified laissez-faire approach. To exercise control is to ensure that the market functions appropriately, rather than stifling the economy with regulatory overreach. The initiative to streamline government and delegate authorities helps rationalize the relationship between the government and the market, giving the market a bigger role to play in allocating resources. This ultimately propels reform, helps restructuring and improves people's wellbeing. The shifting of focus from pre-implementation approval to monitoring during and after project implementation calls for a more detail-oriented and better targeted supervisory function for the government, instead of reducing its workload. Such a change represents a challenge for government departments. There is now a need for a paradigm shift and enhanced capacity-building. It is vital to develop a forward-looking vision and be proactive in gauging market dynamics with a view on amplifying the positive effect of market drivers and minimizing the negative influence of any market failure in a timely manner.