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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

Food trade measures implemented

The scope of the Professional Certification System (PCS) will be expanded to cover general restaurant licence applications starting from February 1, the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department announced today.


With a view to streamlining application procedures, shortening processing times and facilitating compliance with the licensing requirements, the department introduced the PCS in March 2023 as an additional option for light refreshment restaurant and food factory licence applicants to obtain full licences.


Applicants can choose between the existing system, whereby a full licence is issued upon complete of a final on-site check by a department officer, or the PCS, which adopts a licence first, inspection later approach.


Under the PCS, the department accepts a Certificate of Compliance and final layout plans provided by an authorised person or a registered structural engineer as certification for compliance with all health requirements for the issuance of a full licence.


After issuing a full licence, the department’s staff will conduct on-site audit checks to confirm premises’ compliance with all health requirements.


If any information in the documents is found to be incorrect, false or misleading, or if the declaration made is found to be false after on-site audit checks, the department will carry out follow-up action. This may include instigating prosecution, cancellation of the licence issued or referring the case to other departments for follow-up.

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