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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

CE congratulates elected members

Chief Executive John Lee today congratulated all members elected in the seventh District Council (DC) Election, adding that a mechanism for monitoring their performance will be introduced in the new term.
 
Mr Lee iterated that the election was the first large-scale citywide poll held following improvements to the district governance system and reforms to the councils which return them to their intended positioning as district advisory and service organisations in accordance with Article 97 of the Basic Law while also delivering on the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”.
 
“This was a high-quality election that met the objectives of being conducted in a fair, just, clean, safe and orderly manner overall, fully demonstrating an election culture of excellence and the superiority of the reformed DCs system,” he said.  
 
Over 1.19 million registered electors cast their votes in the election. The cumulative turnout rate for the DC geographical constituencies was 27.54%, while in the District Committees constituencies it was as high as 96.9%.
 

The Chief Executive thanked every registered elector who cast his or her vote, stressing that it showed voters were eager to choose an excellent DC member who will be devoted to serving the community, representing their views and building a better community together.
 

He thanked the civil servants and public officers who participated in organising the election, as well as the officers of the disciplined services and the Independent Commission Against Corruption who maintained public order.
 

He also thanked all bureaus and departments in the Government, as well as different organisations in the community, for their participation in promoting and publicising the election.
 

Mr Lee said: “The atmosphere of the election was lively, with competition in all constituencies.
 

“Candidates were required to make every effort to canvass for votes, competing against one another over their vision, achievements and performance, and pragmatically solving problems for members of the public.
 

“The newly elected DC members come from different backgrounds, sectors, strata and professions, which will bring more comprehensive and diverse perspectives to district work and better meet the interests of citizens.”

 
He stressed that the monitoring mechanism which will be introduced in the coming term will enable citizens to continuously monitor DC members’ performance during their term of office.
 

“This can ensure that every DC member under the new system delivers due diligence and meets public expectations, providing high-quality services to citizens,” he said.
 

The seventh-term DCs will assume office on January 1, 2024.
 

Mr Lee said he hoped the DCs will focus on district affairs and grasp the sentiments of the community, enabling the Government to better keep tabs on the districts, plan and promote district services that better meet the needs of citizens, improve governance at the district level, and build a better community as well as long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. 

 

He extended his gratitude to the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) and the Registration & Electoral Office for ensuring that the election was conducted in a fair, just, clean, safe and orderly manner.
 

As regards the failure of the Electronic Poll Register system, he said the EAC was required to establish a dedicated investigation group and submit a report to him within three months.


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