Public to help monitor anti-poverty sector funds

Beijing: China’s top poverty relief authority will use public scrutiny to tackle embezzlement and misconduct in the sector.

In addition to strengthening supervision, Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said the office would institutionalise publicity about anti-­poverty projects and their funding as a way to curb misconduct.

“Public scrutiny will intimidate embezzlers, and those who persist in wrongdoing will pay a heavy price,” Liu said yesterday.

He made the remark in response to cases of misuse and embezzlement of poverty relief funds over the past few years.

In a 2017 inspection targeting poverty relief funds, the Ministry of Finance retrieved 730mil yuan (RM450mil) that had been falsely claimed or embezzled, and 450 officials were held accountable.

According to the office, China’s poor population, which stood at more than 98 million at the end of 2012, was cut by two-thirds in the most recent five-year period, the best performance in the country’s history of poverty reduction.

The central government has set a goal to complete the building of a “moderately prosperous society” in all respects by 2020.

Liu said funding for poverty relief efforts had increased from 50bil yuan (RM30.8bil) in 2012 to more than 200bil yuan (RM123.3bil) in 2017, but the hikes had posed a challenge in supervision.

“The funds go to tens of thousands of impoverished counties and villages, which gives rise to some oversight difficulties,” he said. — China Daily/Asia News Network