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FS expresses gratitude to Working Group on Long-Term Fiscal Planning

     The Working Group on Long-Term Fiscal Planning released its report today (March 3), making projections on the growth trends of government revenue and expenditure according to population growth and demographic changes.

     "I express my heartfelt gratitude to the scholars and experts of the Working Group, as well as my colleagues from various bureaux and departments for their hard work in the past couple of months," the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, said.

     The Working Group has made projections on government revenue and expenditure based on different expenditure growth scenarios in major sectors, including education, social welfare and health. This provides scientific data and a basis for the Government and the community to discuss issues and take forward appropriate measures to prevent a structural deficit from surfacing.

     "I do not think that the Working Group is pessimistic on the future of Hong Kong. The economic growth trends projected by the Working Group objectively reflect the steadily downward trends of most other mature economies with ageing populations.

     "The Working Group makes professional projections based on different expenditure growth scenarios and points out the impacts on public finances. It also makes various recommendations proactively to prevent the onset of a structural deficit."

     Mr Tsang added, "I will invite the Working Group to submit more comprehensive analysis and projections on some of its recommendations for discussion among the government and the community."

     Mr Tsang pointed out that the projection results and analysis of the Working Group present a clear warning and call for serious attention. "We should neither take the problem lightly nor over-worry," he said. "Our public finances are still in good shape in the short to medium term. However, it does not mean our economy and fiscal position will remain healthy forever. In the long run, we need to develop the economy and ensure that the growth in public expenditure is commensurate with that of the economy and government revenue."

Ends/Monday, March 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:32


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