Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday that the government is to strictly control the launching of new projects this year in an effort to curb redundant investment.
Government investment at all levels should be concentrated in the most important areas and be mainly spent to carry on and complete existing projects, Wen said in the government work report he delivered at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature.
Nevertheless, Wen urged local governments to advance reconstruction work in areas devastated by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake that hit southwest Sichuan and its adjacent provinces in May 2008.
NPC deputy Lu Xiulu agreed that the government needs to properly control investment to avoid over-depending on it to power economic growth.
"Government investment needs to be kept at a certain scale, but last year's 30.1 percent growth rate is obviously unsustainable," said Lu, also deputy director of the Development and Reform Commission of the southern Guangdong Province.
In the report, Wen said the government will strengthen and improve the supervision of investment.
"For projects financed through the public treasury, relevant departments need to exercise oversight of the entire course of the project," Wen said.
He also vowed to prevent the construction of "image projects" in the name of boosting domestic demand.
The term "image projects" refer to those built largely for displaying local governments' achievements rather than for use by ordinary people.
Wen said the government should ensure public investments are spent promoting social and economic development and improving people's livelihood. "That should be able to stand the test of practice and history."
China put out an economic stimulus package of 4 trillion yuan (587 billion U.S. dollars) to finance projects over two years to 2010 in a combat against the global financial crisis.
The massive stimulus plan has stirred public concerns over corruption as a large part of the money goes to infrastructure construction.
Up to 44 percent of the respondents to an online survey by the people.com.cn, website of the People's Daily, voted that "malpractice and corruption is a serious problem in the construction area."
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) reported in December a total of 88 cases involving 198 CPC officials were found to misspend money from the stimulus package a year after its launch.
In February, the State Council issued a regulation on the implementation of the Audit Law, aiming to step up supervision on areas highly prone to corruption.
The regulation stated that construction projects whose government investment exceeds 50 percent, and those with less than 50 percent government investment but with construction and operation being controlled by the government, must accept auditing.