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FS' transcript on Budget


Following is the transcript of the media session by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, after attending a radio programme on the Budget this morning (March 11):

Question: You talk about new taxes during the programme, especially GST. How will you say it is inevitable to introduce such a tax on such a scale that everyone will probably have to pay for it in bid to keep the government financial structure more healthy?

Financial Secretary: It is too early to go into substantive discussion about Goods and Services Tax (GST) at this point in time because there is an internal taskforce which is studying various models elsewhere and whether we should have one. This report will not come to me until end of this year. The earliest where we can go into substantive discussion about a GST will be sometime next year. So I encourage those who have views on this to participate in this discussion when the time is right.

Question: About the budget deadline, will you accept anyone to delay it any further?

Financial Secretary: We have set a realistic timetable to achieve a fiscal balance.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, March 11, 2004


( Floor / Cantonese / English )

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