Following is the transcript (English portion) of a photo session today (March 6) during which the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, revealed the cover of his Budget Speech 2001-2002:
Financial Secretary: This year I have chosen a colour of bright yellow, indicating bright sunlight, daylight. It is getting a montage effect, showing that we are now getting out of the economic recession and entering a year of prosperity.
This year's title is "Honing our Strengths, Striving to Excel". It mirrors the two couplets I use in Chinese as well. They have similar meaning, the similar notion of Hong Kong should develop from this point onward as a niche economy - doing the things that are best for ourselves, not doing all sort of things but doing the sort of things that we are good at.
Question: (it is your last budget...how do you feel...)
Financial Secretary: Well, I feel a sense of inner peace and I think I have done enough in the job. I am sure Mr Antony Leung will take the position forward, take our finances to a new plateau. I think everyone has his own time in any position so I feel rather relieved. But I have done my very best in producing this budget and I hope it will be accepted by the people at large. But I do not want to describe it as over-conservative or over-ambitious. I think it is one which is produced in worth, fairness with objectivity and reflects considerable professionalism.
Question: (About assessment of this year's budget and whether this budget is as conservative as that of last year?)
Financial Secretary: I do not think you should look at it as an over-conservative budget nor should you consider it an over-ambitious one. All I can say is, it is my last budget, I put in my very best to make it as objective and as professional a piece of work as possible.
Question: (Whether the budget is the most difficult one)
Financial Secretary: You want me to repeat again in English, isn't it? Well, I cannot say that I would hold the same view two months from now but it is very close to my heart at the moment. I will regard this a rather difficult one, largely because the external economic environment is rather complex and the markets rather volatile, and to prepare a budget consistent with that external environment had been pretty testing and challenging.
(Please also refer to the Chinese transcript)
End/Tuesday, March 6, 2001