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FS speaks on new round of relief measures (1)(with video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at a press conference to announce a new round of relief measures this afternoon (May 26):

     Economic indicators for the first quarter of this year published recently show that our economy is facing severe challenges.  The Chief Executive announced on May 14 that additional relief measures will be introduced within a month.  Today, I will provide details of the new measures.

     In working out the package, I was guided by three principles.  

     First of all, we must be forward looking in considering the types and magnitude of the measures to be introduced, taking into account latest developments in the global economy;

     Second, while we need to ensure that the measures are adequate, we must also observe strict fiscal discipline; and

     Third, the new measures must be simple and direct, involving no new policies, so that they can benefit the community as soon as possible.  They should also be targeted, timely and effective.

     Details of the new package have been listed in the handout distributed to you earlier, so  I will not repeat them here.

     The new relief measures will cost a total of $16.8 billion.  With this latest round of additional measures, the total stimulus package since my Budget last year will amount to some $87.6 billion, roughly 5.2 per cent of our GDP.  The package has not yet taken into account the commitment under the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, and the expenditure arising from default, which is estimated at about $12.5 billion.

     I have asked Directors of Bureaux concerned to explain the measures in detail as soon as possible to the relevant LegCo Panels, and to expeditiously follow up on proposals that require legislative amendments or funding approval.  We hope to secure the necessary authority to implement this package of measures before the LegCo recess this Summer.

(to be continued)

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

Ends/Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:16


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