Customers buy groceries at a supermarket in Chongqing, on Dec 2, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
Daily necessities, energy use are focus at State Council executive meeting
China will adopt further measures to ensure stable prices and sufficient supply of daily necessities and energy for household and industrial needs, according to decisions made on Tuesday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
To better coordinate the pandemic response with economic and social development, it is imperative to take stronger steps to ensure sufficient market supply and price stability during Spring Festival, and meet people's needs for medical care and winter heating, the meeting decided.
"Despite the moderation in economic growth last year, price rises have been kept at a relatively low level, which is no easy feat," Li said. "We did a lot of hard and meticulous work, and refrained from excessive money supply or continuously increasing deficit by a wide margin. This is an important foundation for price stability."
The meeting emphasized the need to further enforce the system of provincial governors assuming responsibility for the "rice bag "and city mayors for the "vegetable basket", and conduct timely market reallocation.
Preparations for spring plowing and sowing will be made, and provision of fertilizers and other agricultural supplies, as well as related services, will be ensured to further promote grain production and firm up the basis for price stability.
The supply of medical and epidemic prevention goods will be improved and a list of key manufacturers drawn up to support their full production capacity, the meeting decided. Efforts will be made to address difficulties in the supply of raw and auxiliary materials, labor and funds to ensure uninterrupted production.
Distribution networks for medical supplies, such as medicines, will be strengthened to meet the needs of medical institutions, stay-at-home patients, elderly care facilities and rural areas.
"Expenses of medical services and drugs that are covered by the medical insurance program should be reimbursed wherever possible to ensure people's demands for medical care and anti-epidemic supplies are met," Li said.
On the energy front, the meeting decided that advanced coal production capacity will be unlocked on an ongoing basis and policies for addressing the difficulties of coal-fired power plants implemented.
Distribution of energy resources will be better coordinated and contingency plans drawn up for meeting electricity and natural gas demands during peak hours, to ensure residential use of energy and to shore up the power supply in key areas, industries and enterprises.
The meeting also decided that logistics companies will be supported to redistribute transportation capacity, as appropriate, and reinforce their front-line staff to ensure stable operation of postal and delivery services during Spring Festival.
"As the momentum of economic recovery and stable growth continues, energy demand is on the rise. Stronger efforts should be made to ensure a safe and stable energy supply, with priority given to residential use. On top of this, energy demand for production activities in economically strong provinces, key industries and enterprises must be met," the premier said.
"We will continue to facilitate the smooth operation of both trunk and branch routes in transportation and logistics, and promptly address possible bottlenecks in last-mile delivery," he added.