Maintenance fees system

Updated: 2013-09-25 09:51

(China Daily)

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The National Audit Office has made public the audit results of the social maintenance fees collected by nine provinces and cities. Preliminary data show 45 county governments illegally allocated 1.627 billion yuan ($265.81 million) of social maintenance fees to family planning and other departments, eliciting calls to strengthen audit supervision, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

Governments collect social maintenance fees as a compensational charge and use the money on sectors concerning people's livelihood, such as education and healthcare. But lax management has turned the fee collection into a chaotic phenomenon.

The audit has proved right the long-held doubts and worries over social maintenance fees, making it all the more important for the government to strengthen supervision over fee collection and increase accountability. For instance, local governments and officials who violate the law and regulations should be punished accordingly.

Besides, family planning departments also have a role to play in clearing the mess. The fee-collection mechanism has to be reformed to ensure better social maintenance. For example, people should be allowed to request for a public hearing before being made to pay huge amounts as social maintenance fees.

If the authorities make the details of the collection and use of the social maintenance fees public, local family planning departments would not dare to collect the fees illegally. Hopefully, the audit results will make it mandatory for relevant departments to disclose information on social maintenance fees.

(China Daily 09/25/2013 page9)