Caixin
Jun 18, 2013 04:12 PM

Mapping Local Government Debt

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently published audit results of debt held by 36 local governments by the end of 2012. Central government auditors scoured the financials of 15 provincial governments and their capital cities, three municipalities under the central government's direct administration and the governments of 1 district in each municipality.

The audit covered 903 government departments and affiliated institutions, and 223 financing platforms, reviewing a total of 22,240 projects and 75,559 debt items.

It found that, by the end of last year, the direct liabilities, guaranteed debt and indirect liabilities of all the 36 local governments exceeded 3.8 trillion yuan, up nearly 13 percent from two years ago.

The NAO said the findings are not representative of local governments elsewhere because government debt is concentrated in those areas surveyed.

Premier Li Keqiang visited the NAO after the report was released and said that better auditing will force improvements in many aspects and accelerate the creation of a mechanism that discourages and punishes corruption.

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