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China vows to step up public scrutiny of SOEs' financial performance

[BEIJING] The Chinese government said on Tuesday it will push for improved public disclosure by state firms of financial and performance information, the latest measure in a nationwide campaign for greater transparency to fight corruption.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) were urged to release major financial indicators and significant performance metrics to the public, the State Council said in a statement on its website.

Reforms and restructuring at SOEs, along with changes of enterprise leadership, are also required to be made public, the cabinet said.

The bid to increase transparency at the country's state-owned companies comes as the government prepares to roll out ambitious new guidelines to overhaul the country's inefficient state sector.

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the ministry-level body that directly oversees 112 central government industrial and service conglomerates, has been drafting reform plans for more than a year.

The government is also increasing its inspection at central government-owned conglomerate groups as part of this year's anti-graft efforts.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in February it was targeting 26 of the country's biggest state firms for its inaugural inspections this year.

In recent weeks, FAW Group Chairman Xu Jianyi, Baosteel Vice President Cui Jian, and a general manager at China National Petroleum Corp were put under investigation for corruption.

Central SOEs should adopt the same practices as listed companies when it comes to publishing reports by supervisory committees, according to the State Council statement.

The cabinet also required the Ministry of Finance to promptly release information about the approvals, changes and execution of fiscal budgets and to publish complete lists of government purchases and local government bond issuance.

The government, moreover, called for greater transparency in information related to pollution and air quality, food and drug safety, housing, the construction of transportation, infrastructure and land expropriation.