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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

FS joins talks on global economy

Financial Secretary Paul Chan yesterday attended the Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders and two thematic discussion sessions on the fourth day of his visit to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

At the informal gathering, held yesterday morning, Mr Chan and other participating leaders discussed the challenges posed by economic fracture and how to rebuild a more mutually beneficial and inclusive global economy.

He then met WEF Founder & Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab and briefed him on Hong Kong’s latest economic and social developments.

In the afternoon, the Financial Secretary participated in two thematic discussion sessions, one of which was focused on community development. Speakers shared their views on how to build consensus in communities and promote more inclusive and people-centred development.

Mr Chan spoke about Hong Kong’s experience in urban renewal and public housing development, as well as the city’s infrastructure-driven development strategy.

In another thematic session, on the development opportunities of digital assets, Mr Chan shared Hong Kong's approach and practices in the area, in particular its establishment of a regulatory framework to actively encourage innovation on the premise of ensuring that financial stability is not affected and investors are effectively protected.

He highlighted that as part of the city’s efforts to promote digital asset development, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is consulting the public on stablecoin development.

Mr Chan also met Prime Minister of Mongolia Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai, with whom he exchanged views on mutual co-operation.

He also made use of breakfast and afternoon tea meetings to brief international financial institutions and business leaders on Hong Kong’s latest economic and financial developments, and to discuss ways of further enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.

Joining Mr Chan in Davos, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau met Bahrain’s Minister of Industry & Commerce Abdulla Adel Fakhro for an exchange of views.

Hong Kong is in active negotiation with Bahrain on an investment promotion and protection agreement. Mr Yau said he hoped the relevant work can be completed soon.

Mr Yau also took part in a World Trade Organization informal ministerial working dinner and held candid exchanges with participating ministers.

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