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Revamped Steering Committee on Population Policy convenes its first meeting (with photos)

     Chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, the revamped Steering Committee on Population Policy held its first meeting today (January 18).

     Echoing the Chief Executive's call to tackle population-related issues in his 2013 Policy Address and having reviewed the relevant demographic statistics and latest population projections, the Steering Committee opined that both the quantity and quality of our population are imminent challenges for Hong Kong. While taking note of previous work done by the Government on Hong Kong's population policy, notably a progress report released in May 2012, Members felt that several key issues might warrant a rethink.

     To take the matter forward, the Steering Committee recognised the need to review the objectives of population policy and conduct in-depth study on a range of issues including increasing the workforce from the existing population, enhancing the productivity of our workforce through education and training, attracting talents, raising the fertility rate of the local population, strengthening social cohesion, and preparing for the return of children born to non-local parents with a view to coming up with targeted and timely recommendations.

     Members noted that population ageing in Hong Kong would continue, which would pose challenges to our development. The number of persons aged 65 and above is expected to nearly triple from 940 000 in 2011 to 2.56 million in 2041, meaning that one in three persons would be elderly in 2041. The labour force would shrink after 2018 from the projected 3.55 million in 2018 to 3.38 million in 2031; the dependency ratio would worsen as our population ages, while the projected fertility rate would remain very low at around 1.2 births per woman. In addition, active planning is required for the handling of the babies born in Hong Kong to non-local parents.

     The Steering Committee shared the importance of public participation in its work. It would roll out a public engagement strategy in due course to collect public views on population policy.

     Following a proposal in the election manifesto of the Chief Executive, the Steering Committee was revamped in late 2012 with an expanded membership to include non-official members from a wide range of professions such as those in the academic, human resources management, business, social service, health-care and education sectors.

Ends/Friday, January 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:06


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