For 2008, GDP grew by 2.5%, lower than the trend growth rate over the past 10 years. Hong Kong export growth recorded an increase of only 2.0%, local private consumption expenditure grew only by 1.8%. Inflation was kept at 4.3%.
A deficit of $4.9 billion in the Consolidated Account for 2008-09 is forecast.
As a result of the financial crisis, a decrease in GDP by 2-3% is forecast for 2009. Unemployment rate will increase and inflation rate will ease to 1.6% in 2009.
The Government will adopt counter-cyclical strategies to boost the economy. There will be a deficit of $39.9 billion in the Consolidated Account for 2009-10.
The Government will introduce a series of measures to help the people overcome the challenges posed by the financial crisis.
Introduce a number of measures to preserve employment for the short term.
Promote a more sustainable economic development by strengthening the fundamentals and developing new economic initiatives in the longer run.
To develop a caring community and provide assistance to the disadvantaged.
We will make a provision of $1.6 billion to create 62 000 jobs and internship opportunities in the next three years. The measures include:
To earmark $400 million non-recurrent funding to enhance a series of employment programmes, and to provide $13 million additional funding for the Labour Department to provide employment assistance to employees affected by company closures.
To earmark $140 million to launch an “Internship Programme for University Graduates”.
To earmark $700 million for the “Operation Building Bright” campaign to help maintain 1 000 dilapidated buildings.
To earmark $100 million to assist organisers to host more events to attract tourists.
To allocate $78 million for organising activities relating to the 2009 East Asian Games and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
To earmark $63 million to conduct an education programme for Internet users.
To allocate an additional $130 million to enhance energy efficiency in government buildings and public facilities.
Enhancing Pillar Industries
Developing New Economic Initiatives
To enhance Hong Kong/Guangdong/Taiwan/Macao co-operation.
To optimise the supervisory framework to enhance investor protection.
To develop co-operation with emerging markets.
To promote bond market development by implementing a programme to issue government bonds.
To promote Hong Kong as an Asian wine and gourmet centre.
To promote conventions, exhibitions and tourism industries.
To commence the construction work of the Kai Tak cruise terminal.
To promote technology-based economy and explore the feasibility of the development of Hong Kong Science Park Phase 3.
To earmark $300 million to support creative industries.
To promote green economy.
To promote the use of electric vehicles and extend the exemption of electric vehicles from First Registration Tax.
To enhance energy efficiency in buildings.
Developing Human Capital
To earmark $7.5 billion to help implement the “334” new senior secondary academic structure.
To provide additional funding of $21 million every year to promote national education.
Implementing Development Projects
Investing in the Future
Capital works expenditure for 2009-10 will be $39.3 billion.
To speed up the implementation of the ten major infrastructure projects.
To set up a Development Opportunities Office to co-ordinate development projects.