Tourists shop at a duty-free shopping mall in Sanya, South China's Hainan province, on March 12, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua] Efforts to boost domestic consumption will be intensified this year to spur economic recovery despite the mounting uncertainties, according to the country's top economic regulator. China will also strive to improve the purchasing power of consumers, improve the consumption environment and create more consumption growth points, said Yan Pengcheng, director of the Department of National Economy at the National Development and Reform Commission. Yan said the country will remove certain administrative restrictions on consumption and purchases and encourage areas that have restrictions on car purchases to increase the number of licensed vehicles. However, more efforts are needed to increase incomes, create more jobs, improve the social security system, optimize the income distribution structure and increase the supply of high-quality services, he said. "There have been challenges due to the insufficient domestic demand and the recovery in consumption has been lagging," Wang Yiming, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said during a seminar held by the China Macroeconomy Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. The COVID-19 outbreak has slowed household income growth and reduced people's consumption tendencies. It is important to further encourage the purchase of new energy vehicles and unleash consumption potential of the younger generation by boosting new types of consumption and containing their debt burden amid high property prices, Wang said. While growth in household spending has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, signs are pointing to a strong boost in consumption, said Fu Yifu, a senior researcher at the Suning Institute of Finance. To unleash China's huge domestic demand, the government can advance income distribution reforms to narrow the income gap and improve the payment structure for the low and middle-income groups. The NDRC will press ahead with its ongoing efforts to deepen reforms and expand opening-up, said Zhao Chenxin, secretary-general of the organization. It will issue a new version of the negative list this year and formulate special measures to relax market access for the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port and build Shenzhen, Guangdong province, into a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics.