Thursday, September 19, 2019
Martin Hennecke

Chan rules out excessive cuts
Financial secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said that the fiscal budget surplus would be below HK$100 billion this year, but added that Hong Kong would keep investing in projects for long-term development and no excessive reduction in expenses would be required due to short-term economic and fiscal changes.

The government would act with prudence with the principle of allocating resources where they are required, aiming to maintain a fiscal balance for the medium to long term, he said.

He said consumption and export growth had slowed down considerably due to external factors, weakening business confidence. Therefore, the government would proactively manage public finances and use its reserves efficiently to overcome these challenges.

He said he had received many suggestions from the public and although some of them were unfeasible, those without prejudice to the policy principles would be taken into consideration.

In the upcoming budget, Chan intends to come up with proposals for issues which can be only solved only through allocating additional resources. Moreover, some mitigatory measures in response to the policy address will be also proposed.

However, he admitted that there were some issues which could not be solved by money alone such as housing, healthcare and residential care for the elderly. These problems needs to be solved step by step, he said, while asking for the public's patience and support.

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