BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- China decided on greater policy support for keeping payrolls stable and boosting job creation, in a bid to maintain employment stability and ensure stable economic performance, according to a decision made at the State Council's Executive Meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The meeting also heard reports on the work of ensuring smooth transport and logistics and urged greater efforts to unclog bottlenecks and make circulation unimpeded.
The meeting noted the crucial role of stable employment in helping keep major economic indicators within the appropriate range. More robust measures must be adopted to keep employment stable.
"Now we need to place greater importance on stabilizing employment. The new round of COVID flare-ups has hit employment quite hard. More forceful measures will be taken to enable the early resumption of full-capacity production of enterprises on the basis of sound COVID-19 control. It is particularly important to ensure the normal operation of key enterprises in the industrial and supply chains, transport and logistics enterprises, enterprises for COVID response and ensuring supply and key infrastructure. Point-to-point assistance will be provided to those facing massive difficulties," Li said.
The meeting called for dedicated efforts to support market entities in keeping their payrolls stable. Policies to temporarily defer premiums payment for old-age insurance, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation will be expanded from the catering, retail, tourism, civil aviation, highway, waterway and railway transportation industries to all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and self-employed households facing COVID-induced difficulties in their operations.
The proportion of refunding unemployment insurance premiums for MSMEs and self-employed households that make no or minimal cuts to staff numbers will be increased to as high as 90 percent.
Localities will be supported to implement time-limited discounts on electricity consumption for industries in special difficulty, and broadband service and dedicated internet service provided for MSMEs at concessional rates on an ongoing basis, to lower costs for seeking employment, starting businesses or working from home.
Enterprises can negotiate with employees to adopt flexible work hours to stabilize jobs. Healthy development of the platform economy will be advanced to boost job creation.
"We must make dedicated efforts to support market entities and keep employment stable. At the same time, we must do whatever possible to boost job creation, especially for key groups such as college graduates," Li said.
College graduates will be supported to start their own businesses. Policies supporting business start-ups and innovation will be implemented. The program to provide young people including college graduates with one million internship openings will be pushed forward, and subsidies given to enterprises that provide such internship opportunities.
A batch of projects such as farmland irrigation and water conservancy and rural roads will be launched, and public works programs extended, to increase job opportunities for migrant workers.
Greater efforts will be made to ensure sound employment services and meet people's basic needs. Support measures such as deferred repayment of student loans and interest reduction and exemption will be explored.
Unemployed migrant workers that joined the scheme less than one year ago will receive provisional living allowances. Temporary assistance will be provided to people who lost their jobs due to the COVID impact, live in difficulty, and have not joined the scheme.
Local governments are required to meet their responsibilities for stable employment, and their work in this respect will be included in their performance-based assessments. Localities should implement policies creatively to achieve the employment target set for the whole year.
The meeting noted that transport and logistics are like the veins of a market economy, and provides strong underpinning for meeting people's basic needs. Regarding the recent clogs in freight logistics in some regions, the State Council has set up a working mechanism.
The COVID response and smooth transportation and logistics will be better coordinated. Inter-agency coordination and cross-regional collaboration will be strengthened to further smooth international and domestic logistics.
"We must maintain smooth transportation and logistics. This is crucial to sustaining stable overall economic performance and ensuring people's well-being. This work should take a key place on our agenda," Li said.
The meeting required efforts to ensure the efficient running of trunk traffic network. Toll stations and service areas along expressways should stay open to the greatest extent possible. Transportation of goods to and from airports and ports will be unclogged. Platform and delivery enterprises will be supported to scale up their transport capacity.
Micro-circulation for logistics will be kept smooth. Support will be provided for outlets including express service points shut down due to COVID to resume operation and for delivery men to return to work in an orderly manner. Rural roads will be kept open and smooth. Transportation of agricultural supplies and farm produce will be guaranteed.
Intensified efforts will be made to ensure logistics in key regions and for key industries and enterprises. Transit stations adequately stock with emergency supplies need to be fully harnessed, to ensure the transportation of daily necessities, goods of key enterprises in the industrial and supply chains, and exports and imports.
"We must remove the bottlenecks hindering the last mile delivery in the logistics of industrial and supply chains and daily necessities. The trunk transport network needs to be open and smooth, and their branch lines also need to have smooth circulation," Li said.
Support and assistance for freight transport businesses will be stepped up. Value-added tax will be exempted on eligible revenues generated from express delivery services starting May 1 till the end of the year. An 100-billion-yuan re-lending quota will be in place as quickly as possible to support financing for transport, logistics and warehousing industries. Deferred payment of auto loans will be supported as appropriate.
It is imperative to issue as many travel permits as necessary. Quick application and issuance and inter-regional recognition of travel permits will be realized nationwide. Free COVID-19 tests and antigen tests for truck drivers during transportation will be provided.
"We must have clear focuses and ensure smooth logistics. Fiscal, taxation and financial departments need to increase relief and support for employees in transport and logistic sector," Li said. ■