|China's top legislature reviews report on quake relief, reconstruction(06/25/08)|
BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China's Cabinet on Tuesday outlined how it would fund relief and reconstruction after the devastating May 12 earthquake centered in the southwestern Sichuan Province.
The plans were detailed in a report on relief and reconstruction tabled by the State Council for review at the opening of the third session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress, which meets every two months.
The earthquake had claimed 69,181 lives and left 374,171 injured and 18,498 missing as of noon on Monday.
Preliminary statistics showed more than 6.5 million homes collapsed and 23 million were damaged after the earthquake.
Minister of Finance Xie Xuren said the central government would allocate 70 billion yuan (10.14 billion U.S. dollars) this year to establish a reconstruction fund for the quake-hit regions.
Sixty billion yuan would come from the stability and regulation fund of the central budget, 5 billion from vehicle purchase tax revenue, 1 billion from the welfare lottery fund, and 4 billion from the state-owned assets operations budget.
Xie said the government will strengthen management and supervision of reconstruction fund and prevent embezzlement of the fund.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, also deputy head of the State Council's earthquake relief headquarters, delivered the report and said 40 billion yuan from the fund would be dedicated to subsidize the rebuilding and repair of farmers' homes.
Hui promised further funds would be allocated for the reconstruction of quake-hit areas in the following years.
"The earthquake caused huge losses and reconstruction will be a pressing and long term task," he said.
"We plan to spend three years to complete preliminary reconstruction and further develop the quake-hit regions in the following five years."
To date, 54.31 billion yuan from both central and local governments had been allocated to relief and reconstruction, said Hui.