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FS promotes green initiatives in Budget

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John Tsang, has announced a series of initiatives in his Budget today (February 25) to promote green industries and energy conservation and improve the living environment.

     Mr Tsang said the Government would step up efforts to help people and companies make the most of the opportunities of a green economy.

     ˇ§Promoting a ˇĄgreen economyˇ¦ will enhance Hong Kongˇ¦s overall competitiveness as well as making it a more liveable city,ˇ¨ the Financial Secretary said.

     Mr Tsang outlined plans for promoting more energy efficient buildings, beautifying the harbourfront and introducing electric vehicles to Hong Kong.

     ˇ§Promoting the use of electric vehicles will create additional business opportunities,ˇ¨ said Mr Tsang, who will lead a steering committee to study the wider use of electric vehicles in Hong Kong.

     ˇ§We will be actively involved in vehicle tests conducted in Hong Kong with a view to introducing electric vehicles into our market early.ˇ¨

     The Financial Secretary extended the exemption for electric vehicles from First Registration Tax for a further five years, until March 31, 2014.

     To promote more energy efficient buildings, $450 million will be set aside over the next two years to install energy-efficient systems in government buildings.

     An additional $450 million has been earmarked for private building owners to conduct energy audits and improvement works.

     ˇ§We expect to subsidise more than 1,600 projects,ˇ¨ he said. ˇ§This will also create business opportunities for related sectors.ˇ¨   

     The Financial Secretary said Hong Kong would extend existing areas of co-operation with the Guangdong Provincial Government to improve the environment.

     ˇ§We will further develop regional high-tech recycling industries, and encourage enterprises to adopt advanced technologies for cleaner production, energy saving and emission reduction.ˇ¨

     Mr Tsang said the Government would also explore the feasibility of the development of Hong Kong Science Park Phase 3 to meet demand for more scientific research facilities in Hong Kong.

     On heritage preservation, the Financial Secretary said the first batch of applications that had been approved under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme would cost approximately $500 million.

     Mr Tsang earmarked additional funding to bring the level of uncommitted funds under the scheme back to $1 billion to support applications for the second batch of historic buildings in the first half of this year.  

     The Government will also provide additional funding for the Harbour Enhancement Committee to take forward research activities with a view to developing harbourfront sites into prime leisure spots.  

     ˇ§With increasing demands for a better living environment, promoting investments and economic activities that protect the environment and save energy will put the overall economy on a more sustainable path,ˇ¨ Mr Tsang said.

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Issued at HKT 13:23


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