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Budget Speech by the Financial Secretary (5)

Directions for Development and Prospects

Consolidating Fundamentals, Embracing Challenges

29. To address our present challenges, as well as taking concrete and timely steps to increase employment and give fresh impetus to the economy, we must formulate strategies for the long-term development of Hong Kong.  We must lay a better foundation for the next generation.

30. The citizens expect us to take action to overcome the challenges posed by the financial turmoil.  The drastic economic changes have fostered new roles for the Government. We must seize the opportunities for economic development.  We will adopt a positive approach and formulate specific and effective policies.  In the process, the Government will work more closely with the community and act as a more proactive market facilitator in economic development when necessary.  For example, with increasing economic integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the two economies have established a very close relationship, and it is necessary for Hong Kong to reposition itself in the national plan.  The past practice of enterprises moving ahead of the Government may not always suit the development trend.  We must have greater involvement in both regional economic planning and national strategic positioning.  The Government will play an increasingly important role as a "champion".

31. We are not departing from market principles.  We should not intervene when the market is functioning properly.  This does not mean we are going down an interventionist route.  We will review pragmatically the future directions for Hong Kong's economic development and provide a suitable platform for sustainable economic growth where necessary.  There are times when the market fails and Government action is called for.  In considering Government measures, we need to take into account whether they are in the interests of the community, provide a platform for long-term social development, and enhance the overall competitiveness of Hong Kong.

32. We will tap business opportunities and promote economic development more proactively.  For example, we will promote employment training and encourage universities and business chambers to work with the Government to provide internship opportunities for university graduates.  So is the promotion of green economy.  My key strategies for sustaining the development of our economy include:

* Promoting development of the regional economy and continuing economic integration with the Mainland;

* Consolidating our role as a financial, business support and professional services, logistics and tourism hub;

* Reaching into new economic territory such as new technology-based economy, creative economy and green economy, to enhance Hong Kong's long term competitiveness; and

* Investing in the future by implementing infrastructure projects.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:28


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