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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

Over 9m holiday travellers expected

The Immigration Department estimates that 9.03 million passengers will pass through land, sea and air control points during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

 

About 83.5% of these travellers will pass through land boundary control points (BCPs).

 

The busiest day for outbound traffic is expected to be December 23, when about 549,000 passengers will leave Hong Kong, while inbound traffic is predicted to peak on December 26 when 626,000 passengers arrive in the city.

 

Passenger traffic at the Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge control points will also be heavy, with daily averages of 217,000, 184,000 and 118,000 forecast.

 

To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic, the department has minimised leave for frontline officers to allow flexible deployment and operation of extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards will also be deployed to provide crowd management support.

 

Furthermore, the department will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point together with Police, Customs and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, and will also establish close communication with Mainland frontier inspection authorities to ensure smooth passenger traffic flows.

 

Travellers are advised to plan their trips in advance and avoid making journeys during busy times.

 

They may check the expected busy times at BCPs on the department’s website and monitor estimated waiting times at all land BCPs via its mobile app.


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