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Government Urged to Fully Use Unemployment Insurance Fund

Experts and officials have urged the Chinese government to fully use its unemployment insurance fund to help the jobless.

The country had amassed 51.1 billion yuan (US$6.4 billion) of unemployment insurance funds by the end of last year, more than 30 percent up from the previous year.

The government should expand the spending channels of the fund to improve the skills of the unemployed, said Wang Xinjun, director of the insurance and actuarial science research institute with the Shandong University.

A large unemployment insurance fund was inappropriate, as the unused funds may be depreciate in value, said Wang.

China's unemployment insurance fund could subsidize training for the unemployed, with the spending left to the discretion of provincial governments, according to regulations.

However, local financial departments should keep a tight hand on the insurance funds, which are managed as government budgets, said Gao Jing, an official with the employment office of Jinan, capital of the Shandong Province.

The insurance fund had yet to fully play its role in facilitating employment, said Jiao Xuebai, head of the Labor and Social Security Department of north China's Shandong Province.

The government announced in January a three-year pilot project to expand expenditure of the unemployment insurance fund in seven provinces and municipalities to subsidize small secured credit.

At least 13 million urban residents are made jobless annually, said Minister of Labor and Social Security Tian Chengping in a recent interview.

(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2006)

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