BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) — A vice governor of China’s central bank on Saturday promised “substantial” progress will be achieved in liberalization of deposit interest rates by next year.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will prioritize reform on deposit interest rates this year after removing floor limit for lending interest rates in financial institutions in 2013, Yi Gang said on the sidelines of the China Development Forum in Beijing.

His words echoed that of Zhou Xiaochuan, the PBoC’s governor, who said China is very likely to ease its grip on bank deposit rates within one or two years during the annual “Two Session” held earlier this month.

Currently commercial banks in China offer a maximum interest rate for one-year deposits of 3.3 percent, while lending rate has no cap. Therefore the reform is considered the last and most important step of the country’s interest rate liberalization.

Along with advancing financial reform, China will strengthen monitoring efforts, which include a withdrawal mechanism for institutions, Yi said.

Yi also noted financial regulator should build a sound environment for fair competition between traditional banks and Internet financial businesses in a bid to prevent risks and ensure sustainable development.