Beijing spends close to 2 billion dollars on Olympic venues

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Beijing, Aug 23 (UNI) China is estimated to have spent nothing less than 13 billion yuan (about 1.88 billion dollars) on venue construction for the Beijing Olympic Games, an official said here today.

The unaudited number includes money spent on the construction of new venues and refurnishing cost of existing venues, but the detailed figure would be available only after a final accounting, city government spokesman Liu Zhi said at a press conference.

''The Beijing Organising Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG) has spent about 2 billion US dollars, which includes money spent on temporary furnishings such as those used in the opening ceremony,'' Liu said.

Meanwhile, the final figure is still to be confirmed by the BOCOG.

''Beijing has also sped up its construction of the infrastructure to better support the holding of the Games. The total investment in Olympic-related infrastructure is about 280 billion yuan,'' said Liu.

According to Liu, the Beijing government did not allocate special money for the Olympics, the expenditures were included in the routine budget of government departments.

''We have spent seven years preparing for the 16 days that is presented to all of you. More important than the fund spent in the preparation is the endeavor of ordinary workers, who work extra hours to guarantee the operation of the city. They deserve our gratitude and attention,'' Liu added.

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