Finance minister Xiang Huaicheng told the National People’s Congress that government expenditure in 2002 would total Yn1,370bn, over 10 per cent more than last year. He attributed the rise to aid to the agricultural sector and increased spending on social secu- rity. The budget deficit is estimated at Yn309.8bn, 29 per cent higher than in 2001. This was described by Huai as the price to pay for healthy and sustainable growth. China will issue Yn568bn in government bonds this year, Yn258.2bn to repay the principal of debt due in 2002, and the remaining Yn309.8bn to cover the deficit.