Opening-up policies need firm application

By Liu Zhiqin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/3 20:53:40

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

In order to promote quality economic growth, the Chinese central government has rolled out a series of policies including the Foreign Investment Law which will come into effect on January 1, 2020, 11 measures on financial reform and measures to promote the development of pilot free trade zones (FTZs). These policies have been well received by markets, will significantly improve the domestic business climate and will boost investor confidence.

However, good policies also need efficient and complete regulations to be effective. Whether or not good policies can be well implemented and produce good outcomes largely depends upon regulations. Frequently occurring failures in policy implementation have failed to honor the policies themselves and have caused damage to the central government's credibility. The rights and interests of policy beneficiaries are largely infringed upon as well. Therefore, we should attach great importance to this issue and take measures to avoid failure in policy implementation.

When such failures and infringements happen in sectors that could damage the real economy, poverty alleviation efforts or the agricultural sector, it is even more important to take action. Infringements of farmers' contracting rights for rural land are typical examples. The central government has devised strict rules to regulate rural land transfers, but many local governments have neglected these rules and exploited lands without first attaining approval from farmers, infringing upon their legitimate rights and interests.

Currently, there is a large area of rural land that is contracted. As urbanization develops rapidly, a large number of farmers are working in urban areas, turning their contracted land into cash cows for illegal businessmen.

Failures of policy implementation are manifesting in three ways. First, good policies are changed and twisted when implemented, producing entirely unexpected outcomes. Second, when new policies are implemented, delays appear and beneficial opportunities are missed, which largely impacts planned effects. Third, when urgently needed policies come to the implementation stage, a lack of coordination and long-term plans means that current problems may be solved but more issues arise simultaneously.

There are three major reasons for failures in policy implementation. First, relevant departments and governments don't attach enough importance to the policies that are made by the central government, and they make changes to certain rules. Second, some local governments put local interests above overall national interests. They take advantage of certain rules at the expense of national interests, purposefully failing to fully implement relevant policies. Third, some local governments and organizations operate against the original purpose of the rules. They seem to act in accordance with the rules, but privately infringe upon their credibility, causing the total failure of the policy implementation.

In order to completely rule out such failures, governments at all levels need to strengthen the study of policies made by the central government and learn their purposes. They also need to put the interests of the people first and improve governmental performance, so as to guarantee the full implementation of relevant policies. 

The author is a senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.


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