More support for payroll and job creation

Foreign returnees visit a job fair during the 19th International Professional Exchange Conference in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, April 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Li: Stabilizing employment should be a high priority amid new COVID surges

China will provide greater policy support to keep the wage bill stable and boost job creation, in a bid to ensure stable economic performance, according to a decision taken at an executive meeting of China’s Business Council on Wednesday. State chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

“We must now place greater emphasis on stabilizing employment. The new round of COVID outbreaks have hit employment quite hard. businesses based on a healthy COVID-19 control,” Li said.

“It is particularly important to ensure the normal operation of key companies in industrial and supply chains, transport and logistics, and those in the response to COVID-19, and to guarantee key infrastructure. Point-to-point assistance point will be provided to those facing tremendous hardship,” Li said.

Policies for temporarily deferring the payment of old-age insurance, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation premiums will be extended to the catering, retail, tourism, civil aviation, transport sectors road, river and rail services to all micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, or MSMEs, and self-employed households facing COVID-related difficulties in their activities.

The proportion of reimbursement of unemployment insurance premiums for MSMEs and self-employed households that do not or only slightly reduce their workforce will be increased to 90%.

The localities will be supported in setting up temporary discounts on electricity consumption for industries in particular difficulty. In addition, broadband and dedicated internet services will be provided to MSMEs at preferential rates. In addition, a healthy development of the platform economy will be promoted to stimulate job creation.

“We must make special efforts to support market entities and maintain job stability. At the same time, we must do everything possible to boost job creation, especially for key groups such as university graduates,” Li said.

A cluster of projects in areas such as farmland irrigation, water conservancy and rural roads will be launched, and public works programs will be expanded, to increase employment opportunities for workers immigrants. Support measures such as deferred repayment of student loans and reduction and waiver of interest will be explored.

The meeting also heard reports on work to ensure smooth transport and logistics, and urged greater efforts to unblock bottlenecks.

“We need to maintain smooth transportation and logistics. This is crucial for maintaining stable overall economic performance and ensuring people’s well-being. This work should be a key part of our agenda,” Li said.

The meeting demanded efforts to ensure the efficient operation of the traffic arteries. Toll plazas and service areas along highways should remain open whenever possible. Platform and delivery companies will be supported to increase their transport capacity.

Support will be provided so that outlets that have been closed due to COVID-19, including express service outlets, can resume operations and delivery staff can return to work in an orderly manner.

Value-added tax will be exempt on qualifying revenue generated by express delivery services from May 1 through the end of the year. A lending quota of 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) will be set up as soon as possible to support financing for the transportation, logistics and warehousing industries.

It is imperative to issue as many travel permits as necessary, the assembly decided. Rapid application and issuance and cross-regional recognition of travel permits will be achieved nationwide. Free COVID-19 tests will be provided to truckers during transport.

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