China is stepping up efforts to close loopholes in its public-private partnership initiative that are being exploited by local governments to borrow more money through banned channels, Caixin reports. In a notice posted Thursday on its website, the Ministry of Finance announced an overhaul of the approval system and told local governments nationwide that they have until the end of March to comply with orders to review, identify and remove unqualified projects from the official PPP registration system. Delisting means the deals will not be eligible to be funded through the PPP model, under which private companies invest in government infrastructure projects. Authorities unable to meet the deadline will be given a 30-day grace period. The order is intended to “prevent the PPP program from being abused and turned into a new type of (government) financing vehicle, and to firmly contain the risks of an increase in hidden debt,” the ministry said.
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