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FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

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

Scholarship applications open

Applications for the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme are open until December 29, the Education Bureau announced today.

 

Eligible Hong Kong students who intend to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world-renowned universities outside the city from the 2024-25 academic year can apply.

 

The bureau said: “The scheme seeks to cultivate a cadre of brilliant young achievers with a sense of social responsibility and national identity, an affection for Hong Kong and an international perspective who will return home after receiving world-class education supported by the scholarship to enrich Hong Kong’s talent pool and competitiveness in the long run.”

 

Selection will be based on academic achievements and other attributes such as leadership qualities and potential as well as contributions and commitment to society.

 

Awardees will receive a non-means-tested scholarship to cover their tuition fees, capped at $300,000 per annum. In addition, those who have passed the means test will receive a bursary of up to $200,000 per annum to cover living and study-related expenses.

 

Awardees are required to complete their study programmes and undertake to return to Hong Kong upon graduation to work for at least two years or a period equivalent to the duration of the scholarship received, whichever is longer.

 

Applications can be submitted online. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview from April 2024 after receiving unconditional offers from their chosen programmes.


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