Posts

FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

Image
In the 2024-25 Budget announced today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposed a number of measures to increase revenue and outlined a fiscal consolidation programme which aims to restore fiscal balance in a few years’ time.   Mr Chan said even though the Government strived to reduce expenditure as the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, the total expenditure for 2023-24 reached $727.9 billion, representing an increase of 36.9% compared with 2018-19, of which operating expenditure rose substantially by 40.2% whereas operating revenue increased only 13.1%.   On capital works, owing to the fact that the Government has been pressing ahead with land and housing supply projects, along with other infrastructure works for improving the environment and people’s livelihood, the average annual expenditure has increased from about $76 billion over the past five years to about $85 billion in 2023-24.   Fiscal reserves have dropped to the current level of $733.2 billion.   Fiscal consoli

Govt forecasts $48.1b deficit

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan said today that as the external environment is likely to remain complicated in the coming year and revenues related to asset markets in Hong Kong require some time to fully recover, the Government will continue to provide resources to strengthen momentum in the economy and to enhance public services.   In his Budget speech, Mr Chan said he expects that, taking into account the Government’s $120 billion bond issuance, 2024-25 will see a $48.1 billion deficit and fiscal reserves will decrease to $685.1 billion.   He stressed that substantial resources will still be allocated to livelihood-related policy areas including health, social welfare and education, representing 59.3% of recurrent expenditure. Following the pandemic, non-recurrent expenditure will substantially decrease.   On the revenue side, he expected earnings and profits tax, land premiums, and revenue from stamp duty to increase over the revised estimate for 2023-24.   The Financ

FS: HK can be supply chain hub

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today announced a series of measures on finance, trade and the maritime and aviation sectors, and vowed to develop Hong Kong into a multinational supply chain management centre that provides consulting services, trade financing and corporate training to enterprises.   Delivering his Budget, Mr Chan said the Government will look at establishing a single window to provide one-stop trade services, in addition to stepping up efforts to attract Mainland manufacturing enterprises to set up offices in the city.   The Government is also planning to issue $70 billion worth of retail bonds, including $50 billion in Silver Bonds and $20 billion in green bonds and infrastructure bonds, to achieve financial inclusiveness and a sense of participation in the city’s infrastructure and sustainable development among the public.   To press ahead with the development of an offshore renminbi ecosystem in Hong Kong, the Government will continue to deepen mutual-mark

Budget steadfastly seeks progress

Image
Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki today said the 2024-25 Budget steadfastly seeks progress by adopting targeted and effective strategies to formulate measures, while taking into account the sustainability of public finance.   Speaking at a media session after the Financial Secretary delivered the 2024-25 Budget, Mr Chan said that with the concerted effort of the Government and society at large, Hong Kong has been gradually regaining its growth momentum after the COVID-19 pandemic.   “That said, as an externally oriented and open economy, Hong Kong continues to be affected by the complex and volatile external environment and unstable global economic recovery. Together, we have overcome various challenges along the way,” Mr Chan noted.   “With this in mind, I consider that the latest Budget steadfastly seeks progress while ensuring stability,” he added.   The Chief Secretary also pointed out that the series of short, medium and long-term measures in the Budget aim to develop H

Land supply to exceed demand: FS

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today said the potential land supply for 2024-25 is expected to provide about 15,000 flats, around 14% more than the annual demand projected in the Long Term Housing Strategy.   Mr Chan made the remarks while outlining land and housing measures in the Budget this morning. He noted that the 2024-25 Land Sale Programme will cover a total of eight residential sites.   Together with railway property developments, private development and redevelopment projects, and the Urban Renewal Authority’s projects, the potential land supply for the year is expected to exceed the annual demand of 13,200 units projected in the housing strategy, reaching 15,000 units.     In addition, two commercial sites and one industrial site will be put up for sale, providing about 120,000 sq m of commercial floor area and 540,000 sq m of industrial floor area respectively.   Housing supply Mr Chan said the Government has identified sufficient land to meet the supply ta

Govt to build HK brand on all fronts

Image
Financial Secretary Paul Chan this morning pledged that the Government will build the Hong Kong brand on all fronts.   In his 2024 Budget Speech, Mr Chan outlined commitments to raise the city’s standing as a premier destination for business and tourism through consolidation of its prowess in hosting mega events and thematic annual conferences, better use of its social and natural resources, and the integration of opportunities created by industry development. He also announced that the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) will launch a new tourism brand for the city.   Highlighting that the Government has set up a Mega Events Coordination Group, Mr Chan said the Government had earmarked $100 million over the next three years to boost the number of mega events and their promotion, strengthen inter-departmental collaboration in support of such events, and maximise the benefits they bring both in terms of economic prosperity and enhancing the city’s image internationally.   He note

FS paves way to green, digital future

Image
A number of initiatives and measures aimed at accelerating high-quality development were announced in today’s 2024-25 Budget, with the Government emphasising a move towards a green future and digitalisation.   Explaining that high-quality development spurs ongoing economic innovation and growth whilst conserving the natural environment, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said Hong Kong must pursue opportunities through leveraging its advantages under “one country, two systems”, namely those of enjoying strong support at a national level and being closely connected to other parts of the world.   He stressed that green development involves huge business opportunities and financing needs, as governments and businesses around the world pursue carbon neutrality and green transformation. In addition, he said digitalisation has become a new driving force for economic development, empowering enterprises to enhance efficiency, boost their competitiveness and achieve new growth.   Introdu