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Sichuan Short on Reconstruction Money

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The reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged Sichuan Province is likely to cost 700 billion yuan (US$102 billion) more than is available through government investment and credit financing, the provincial government said on Tuesday.

The rebuilding of the province will cost around 1.7 billion yuan in the coming three years, said Cai Jing, deputy secretary-general of the Sichuan provincial government.

Government investment will total 300 billion yuan and credit financing will account for about 600 billion yuan but much more money will be needed, Cai said at the 5th Pan-Pearl River Delta (Pan-PRD) Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, which opened in the southwestern city of Naning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Tuesday.

The Pan-PRD cooperation bloc includes nine provinces and autonomous regions: Gaungdong, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan, Fujian, Hainan, Jiangxi and Guangxi. The bloc includes the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.

"The rest (of the money needed for rebuilding) will mainly come from business investment from companies. That's why we are here, to promote rebuilding projects," Cai said.

The annual regional event was postponed last year due to the May 12 earthquake.

About 4,000 government officials and business people from Sichuan Province attended the four-day forum, promoting 546 key construction and investment projects worth 418.1 billion yuan.

"We have attached great importance to undertaking businesses transferring from the Pan-PRD region, to help us raise reconstruction funds," Cai said.

Projects announced on Tuesday included ones connected to hi-tech, equipment and manufacturing, modern agriculture and service, culture and tourism as well as infrastructure initiatives.

In the first quarter of this year, it attracted US$1.7 billion in foreign investment, an increase of 10.8 percent over the same period last year.

Cai said Sichuan will hold the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair in October, to further promote the western province's investment environment and trade development.

(China Daily June 10, 2009)