Thursday, March 3, 2011

Official: Asian Games stayed within budget, despite claims

MTR Ktt with 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games advert...Image via Wikipedia
GUANGZHOU - Finance authorities in this southern city said the 16th Asian Games and Asian Para Games last year had not left the city a huge monetary hole.
In response to criticisms made by deputies of the city's people's congress, Zhang Jieming, director of the Guangzhou finance bureau, said the city's budget for the games was 13.6 billion yuan ($2 billion).
So far, the city has used some 9.1 billion yuan, accounting for 67 percent of the budget, according to Zhang.
"I can say that the investment has been kept within the budget," Zhang said at a special news conference on Wednesday after the annual session of the local people's congress, which concluded last week.
"The funds come mainly from the marketing development related to the games, subsidies from higher governments and the sales of the Asian Games town in Panyu district," Zhang said.
Zhong Nanshan, a deputy with the Guangzhou People's Congress, claimed at the session that the games had left the city owing some 210 billion yuan.
"Actually, the government debt is not as high as the figure some deputies mentioned," Zhang said. Early in 2002, when Guangzhou launched a bid to host the 2010 Asian Games, local authorities planned a budget of about 12.1 billion yuan for the games, according to Zhang.
However, local authorities submitted a general investment plan of as high as 220 billion yuan to the central government after it won the bid.
"The 220-billion-yuan plan included the building of stadiums, Asian Games town and some key infrastructure projects from 2005 to 2010. That's why some people say that Guangzhou has invested a huge amount of money to host the games," Zhang said.
The city invested as much as 109 billion yuan to improve urban infrastructure from 2005 to 2010, according to Zhang.
"At present, the government owes some 88.4 billion yuan from urban construction over the past several years, including debt interest," Zhang said.
Zhang said that it is a common practice for local governments to collect money for urban construction through government debts, according to Nanfang Daily.

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