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FS explains spending plan

August 05, 2017

The Government could tap into its massive fiscal surplus to boost investment in Hong Kong’s future.


Speaking to the media today after attending a radio programme, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the Government will allocate more resources to areas such as infrastructure, housing, poverty alleviation and education.


He expects government expenditure will increase as a result, adding the additional spending will be covered by the fiscal surplus.


Mr Chan said this will not be a problem provided the Government spends in accordance with its affordability to supplement Hong Kong’s long-term growth.


He said he wants to be flexible in planning the Budget and will not set a rigid limit on government spending.


When asked about former Monetary Authority Chief Executive Joseph Yam’s view that the Government should adopt a more progressive approach in planning its Budget, Mr Chan said he does not disagree and is open to various ideas.


Mr Yam stated in an article that it was acceptable for the Government to incur a budget deficit if spending could drive economic growth and be of long-term benefit.


“His viewpoints with regard to (Basic Law) Article 107 are basically the same as what I have stated in my Budget.


“When I delivered my Budget on February 22, I had a paragraph (that) specifically deals with the interpretation of Article 107, so I don't think there is any major disagreement in that respect.


“And as a government official, I think it is important for us to be always keeping humility and be prepared to listen to different views expressed by the community, no matter (if) they are from executive councillors, legislators, academia, think tanks or just a member of the general public.


“We must have that capacity to humble ourselves to listen to their views so that we can have a better gauge of the expectation and the wisdom of different people.”

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