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Tibet sets economic growth goal of 10% plus this year

January 16, 2009

LHASA, Jan. 14, 2009 (Xinhua) -- The government of Tibet Autonomous Region is bullish to garner a more-than-10-percent economic growth this year.
 
Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the regional government, disclosed the ambitious plan for the new year in his work report to the regional people's congress which opened Wednesday in Lhasa, the regional capital.
 
The Tibetan official also set forth other double-digit growth targets for 2009, including: per capita net income for farmers and herders; budget revenue for local finance; investment in fixed assets; and retail sales of consumer commodities.
 
Efforts will be made to limit rising consumer prices to below the level of 2008, and to control the registered urban unemployment rate to within 4.3 percent, which was the same figure as last year, said Qiangba Puncog.
 
Tibet also plans to boost consumption in the region, although no specific measures on how to do this were released at the meeting.
 
Tibet is budgeting for a 10 percent plus growth in foreign trade volume this year. To accomplish that goal, the region wants to export more local products to its neighbors Myanmar, India, Bhutan and Nepal.
 
The region did 500 million U.S. dollars in foreign trade last year, up 27 percent. It also had an inflow of 4.8 billion yuan of investment from areas outside Tibet, a rise of 3 percent.
 
2008 was an unusual year for Tibet's development, Qiangba Puncog said. The region withstood challenges such as the Lhasa riots, earthquakes, deadly winter weather and a slowdown of the economy.
 
"Challenges and opportunities will go side by side again this year, though the latter might outweigh the former in 2009. We should be fully aware of challenges and work by every possible means to keep significant development in the regional economy. We should also maintain social stability and aim to improve the livelihood and cohesion of the people in Tibet so as to achieve new victories in both development and social stability," said Qiangba Puncog.
 
According to the chairman, the plateau region saw a 10.1 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) last year. That equals 39.2 billion yuan (about 5.7 billion U.S. dollars).
 
Per capita income for farmers and herders was 3,170 yuan, up 13.7 percent. Per capita disposable income for urbanites rose by 10.5 percent to reach 12,300 yuan. Budget revenue for local finance was 2.49 billion yuan, an increase of 23.5 percent.
 
Tibet levied 2.9 billion yuan in taxes last year, up 24 percent. The balance of saving deposits and outstanding loans of financial institutions were 82.09 billion yuan and 22 billion yuan, respectively.
 
Its retail sales of consumer commodities was 12.9 billion yuan in the past year, up 15 percent.
 
Tibet's economic growth target for 2009 was higher than that of other parts of China. Both Beijing and Shanghai, for instance, announced targets of 9 percent of economic growth earlier this week.
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