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CE's statement on 2016-17 Budget

     The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, today (February 24) issued the following statement on the 2016-17 Budget:

     The Financial Secretary this morning delivered the Budget Speech for 2016-17, providing financial resources to support the implementation of initiatives announced in my Policy Address in January which involve $220 billion of expenditure. These initiatives will enable the current-term Government to further fulfil its pledges to alleviate poverty, care for the elderly, support the disadvantaged, nurture the youth and enhance the quality of public healthcare services.

     The Budget has outlined a host of initiatives to maintain Hong Kong's economic growth through nurturing innovation, diversification of industries and opening up new markets, so that residents can share the benefits of economic development. The Government at the same time will maintain a healthy fiscal position, and make forward planning with a view to addressing the needs of the ageing population.

     In light of the challenges to be faced by the local economy in 2016, the Government will take appropriate measures to stimulate the economy and support local enterprises, in particular small and medium enterprises, to help them cope with economic volatilities and safeguard employment. The Budget will also provide resources for rolling out targeted support measures for the tourism industry to attract more visitors, through stepping up the publicity as well as the competitiveness of the industry.

     The Financial Secretary also announced a set of relief measures for easing the financial burden of residents, including reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment; waiving rates; and providing an extra allowance to recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance. The Financial Secretary will also adjust two categories of allowances under salaries tax and personal assessment, and increase the allowances for maintaining a dependent parent or grandparent.

     The Financial Secretary noted that Hong Kong, facing stiff competition in the global market, must act swiftly and get prepared, and maintain strengths through research and application of innovative technologies, development of financial technologies, start-ups and the creative industries, as well as fostering of suitable talents.

     With the emerging markets playing a more and more important role in the global economy, it is necessary for Hong Kong to find new markets. The Financial Secretary has announced measures that can help Hong Kong leverage its advantages under the "one country, two systems" framework to capitalise on the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative as well as other development opportunities, in order to sustain Hong Kong's economic growth.

     I hope the Legislative Council and the public will support this Budget.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 12:53


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