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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

Proper use of health voucher urged

With regard to the recent Police operation against illegal use of the Elderly Health Care Voucher (EHCV), the Department of Health today issued a reminder to the public on the proper use of the voucher.
 

The department stressed that members of the public are not allowed to use the vouchers of deceased people, and must not use their vouchers solely for purchasing goods, medical equipment or products, or medication, or redeem them for cash. 
 

Under the EHCV scheme, voucher recipients must produce a valid Hong Kong identity card, or a Certificate of Exemption issued by the Immigration Department, to receive in-person healthcare services provided by enrolled health care providers.  
 

The department highlighted that, even after spouses have registered for shared use of vouchers, the voucher account balance of a deceased party will not be transferred to the voucher account of their surviving spouse.
 

Anyone attempting to use a deceased person’s voucher account balance with the deceased’s Hong Kong identity card or Certificate of Exemption may be charged with offences such as fraud, the department added.
 

The department reiterated that it conducts regular checks in accordance with its monitoring mechanism, and that all suspected cases of violations of the scheme’s rules, or false declarations, are strictly dealt with.
 

It added that members of the public should abide by the relevant regulations and not defy the law. Making a false declaration is a criminal offence and offenders are liable to a fine or imprisonment upon conviction.
 

The department also reminded enrolled health care providers about the relevant regulations.
 

Call 2838 2311 for enquiries. 


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