(ATF) – Tax receipts plummeted and government spending soared in the first two months of the year as the coronavirus epidemic ravaged the economy.
Layoffs and closures forced on industry meant fiscal revenue collected through taxation declined 9.9% year-on-year to 3.52 trillion yuan (US$496.2 billion). And as the government was forced to take extraordinary steps to contain the virus’ spread, spending rose 4.7% in the period to 426.9bn yuan.
The central government collected 1.72tn yuan in revenue, down 11.2%, while local authorities saw tax receipts dip 8.6% to about 1.8tn yuan, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.
The central government spent 426.9bn yuan in the period, up 4.7%, while local government spending actually dropped 3.9% to 2.8tn yuan.
China is slowly getting back to work after the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan last year. Its sudden spread prompted the government to lock down the city and surrounding areas and extended the one-week Lunar New Year shutdown in a bid to limit transmissions.
Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday the epidemic had been “basically blocked” and restrictions on travel and quarantines began being lifted Wednesday.
Amid the country’s efforts to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, expenditure on health saw double-digit growth, rising 22.7%, and spending on social security and employment climbed 2.5%, the ministry said.