BEIJING, Mar. 8 -- "Painstaking efforts" are required to meet this year's economic growth target of 7.5 percent in the face of harsh external conditions, a senior official said Wednesday.
China announced Monday that it would lower its GDP growth target to 7.5 percent this year after projecting it around 8 percent for seven consecutive years.
The lowered target will better reflect economic trends both at home and abroad, Li Pumin, a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency, said in an interview with www.gov.cn, the Chinese government's official website.
"It will help steer local governments to put more emphasis on economic restructuring and transformation and encourage them to enhance quality and efficiency in the process," Li said.
"The lowered target will also help ease restraints on resources and environment."
The central government will continue to make hefty investments, more than two thirds of the total investment from the central budget, to improve people's livelihoods in 2012.
It plans to allocate 69 billion yuan (10.95 billion U.S. dollars) to build low-rent housing and renovate shanty houses, as well as 140.6 billion yuan to improve the livelihoods of rural residents and enhance agricultural production, Li said.
The government will also earmark 48.8 billion yuan to promote energy conservation and environmental protection, as well as 29.9 billion yuan to boost the development of emerging industries.
Meanwhile, Li said that China will further raise the minimum wage standards and pensions this year to boost domestic demand.