Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Transcript of remarks by FS at Budget press conference (with photo/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the press conference on the 2014-15 Budget at Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (February 26):

Reporter: Financial Secretary, when people look at the Budget after you've given it, they always go through this line and that line and how much was spent on this and how much was not spent on that, but you're in the unique position of having to look at the thing in its entirety. So, looked at from that point of view, the whole picture, what does this Budget say about you and for your own vision for Hong Kong?

Financial Secretary: For me, it's very simple. I mean, as I have stated in the closing of my Budget, that for me as Financial Secretary - this is in paragraph 162 - for me as Financial Secretary, "my foremost priorities are to promote economic development and to maintain a sound business and employment environment." This is important. That is my primary responsibility, and I aim to fulfil that.

Reporter: The vision part which I asked you. What does it say about your vision, looking forward, for Hong Kong?

Financial Secretary: I think that's for you to judge.

Reporter: Well, how is the Government going to persuade the community to support the "Future Fund" and, if possible, can you tell me should taxpayers be worried about an increase of taxes in the near future?

Financial Secretary: The "Future Fund", as I mentioned earlier, is still a proposal of the working group. We will need to ask them to flesh it out, give us more details, and Government will then take a careful look at it and see how it works and, obviously, in the process we would need to consult our stakeholders and see how everyone feels about that before we make a final decision.

Reporter: Should taxpayers be worried about ...?

Financial Secretary: I don't think people, taxpayers in Hong Kong, should be worried about their tax payment. We are among, if not the, lowest total tax paid in the world. So this is not a place where we charge high taxes. But meanwhile, as I've mentioned earlier, it's always a very controversial thing for Government to raise taxes, and if we were to do that it would have to go through a pretty thorough consultation process.

Reporter: You kept talking about you're not going to increase tax, and taxpayers do not have to ...

Financial Secretary: I didn't say that. Never.

Reporter: OK. Taxpayers do not have to worry about paying extra tax as we are now the place with the lowest amount of tax paid. But then the truth is we have a decreasing number of labour force in the long run and we have a pretty narrow tax base. So do you think there is a need to adjust the tax band or consider all possible kind of tax that is perhaps adopted in other countries, for example the general sales tax or - I don't know - perhaps like stock, profits tax, that kind of thing? Do you think there is a need for Hong Kong to consider or to look into the possibility of implementing such new taxes? Thank you.

Financial Secretary: Any of those are possibilities, and any of them we may need to look at. But what is important is that the whole population decrease would have an economic impact foremost, and that is something that we need to look at. And that's what has prompted us to have a much closer look at the financial position, and we have come up with different scenarios and we need not look at just any one single aspect, but the whole basket of measures that we need to undertake, and we will take it from there.

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

Ends/Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:49


Print this page