China to merge banking, insurance regulators in biggest ministry shake-up

13 March 2018, 10:52 AM
File Photo
File Photo

China on Tuesday unveiled plans for the biggest ministry shake-up in years, including the merger of its banking and insurance regulators to reduce risks to its financial system from a rapid build-up in debt.

The massive reshuffle plan of various ministries is aimed at making the government better-structured, more efficient, and service-oriented.

China is also due to announce appointment of new ministers and officials, including the foreign minister, as part of changes in every five years.

The reform plan will be submitted to the ongoing first session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) for deliberations, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

There will be 26 ministries and commissions of the State Council after the reshuffle, the report said.

The sweeping changes include the merger of China’s banking and insurance regulators and the setting up of a special bureau to oversee immigration issues, the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.

China is in the midst of a battle against financial risk, as credit in the world’s second largest economy has exploded since the financial crisis a decade ago.

Financial regulators have cracked down on major companies—even taking over Anbang Insurance this year—to get a handle on building risk and unwieldy debt that some analysts worry pose a serious threat to China’s financial stability.

Among the new entities are a ministry of natural resources, a ministry of veterans’ affairs and a ministry of emergency management.

The plan also includes the merger of the ministry of culture and the national tourism administration into one.

The power of the influential National Development and Reform Commission ? often dubbed the little State Council ? will be reduced under the new plan.

The move is part of President Xi Jinping’s plan to retool the entire administration to give the ruling Communist Party greater control and a more effective platform to govern the world’s most populous nation.

Xi, 64, is set to continue for a life term as the NPC approved the removal of the two-term limit for the president and the vice president.

The new plan also intends to cut bureaucracy and turf wars by removing overlapping duties and responsibilities, the Post report said.

There will be new administrations under the state council or the central cabinet, such as an international development cooperation agency and a state immigration administration.

Compared with the current setup, the number of ministerial-level entities are reduced by eight and that of vice-ministerial-level entities by seven, the report said.

The reform, which aims to push forward the institutional restructuring in key areas, will strengthen the government’s functions on economic management, market supervision, social management, public service, and ecological and environmental protection, it said.

First Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:46 AM
For all the latest World News Download the News Nation App available on Android and iOS.