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CE's statement on 2012-13 Budget

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (February 1) issued the following statement on the 2012-13 Budget:

     The 2012-13 Budget takes into account the instabilities in the current global economic environment, responds to the aspirations of the Hong Kong people for social progress and demonstrates the Government's determination to maintain sustainable growth.  This is a well thought-out and responsible Budget. I hope the Legislative Council and the community will support it.  

     Compared with the Budget five years ago, the Government's expenditure in implementing various policies has increased by almost 70 per cent and recurrent expenditure has increased by one-third.  Within the same period, our Gross Domestic Product has grown by 21 per cent.  By March 2013, it is estimated that our fiscal reserves will reach $658.7 billion, equivalent to 20 months of government expenditure.  I sincerely thank the Financial Secretary for laying a solid financial foundation for the next term government.

     This is the last Budget of the current term government.  In the past five years, we have introduced a series of measures to stabilise the economy and safeguard people's livelihoods, aiming to help the community face economic difficulties.  We have focused not only on present needs, but also on the long-term development of Hong Kong.  This Budget will help us build a stable and dynamic platform to propel further economic development.

     Amid the uncertainties in the global economy and the worrying state of affairs in the United States and Europe, Hong Kong's economic growth slowed in the second half of last year. In the face of this challenge, the Financial Secretary has adopted a host of measures to support enterprises, including improvements to the Small and Medium Enterprise Financing Guarantee Scheme to relieve possible capital flow problems in this sector.

     Emphasising the importance of grasping the new opportunities brought by the National 12th Five-Year Plan and to achieve long-term economic growth, the Budget maps out strategies to strengthen economic and financial co-operation between the Mainland and Hong Kong. It also reflects our commitment to develop the six industries where we enjoy clear advantages - testing and certification services, medical services, innovation and technology, cultural and creative industries, environmental industries and education services - to consolidate and expand our economic foundation.

     We are well aware of the pressures faced by ordinary people. In addition to a number of one-off relief measures announced in last year's Policy Address, the Financial Secretary has put forward additional proposals, including tax concessions to help people from all walks of life.

     The continuous rise in property prices has been a major public concern in recent years. With the development of a stable and healthy property market as the top priority, the Financial Secretary has proposed a wide range of measures to increase land supply for building residential flats. Various measures to boost the supply of commercial sites have also been introduced, including the development of new central business districts and the relocation of some government offices from the commercial districts.  We believe that comprehensive planning and development will enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness and attract foreign investors.

Ends/Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 13:54


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