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114.    Madam President, when I took up my post as Financial Secretary in August last year, I said, "I am determined and I have every confidence that I will be able to work closely with our community to overcome our economic difficulties and develop a prosperous, harmonious and caring society." Thanks to the concerted efforts of the whole community, we are now moving towards these goals.

115.    In little more than half a year, Hong Kong has witnessed a dramatic change in the economic climate. Our economy has bottomed out with a V-shaped rebound, and businesses have revived. I am very optimistic about our economic prospects. My optimism is based not only on the opportunities brought about by the rapid growth of our nation, but also on Hong Kong's unique strengths as well as the tenacity, ingenuity and enterprising spirit of our people. Our younger generation is very good at picking up new ideas and knowledge, and is not afraid to experiment or innovate: this provides a fresh impetus to our economic restructuring. I have every confidence that by grasping our opportunities, constantly renewing our strengths and making full use of our advantages, we can work another economic miracle.

116.    The Government is very clear about the path that our economy should take and the direction for development that we should follow. In economic policy-making, we will be proactive, committed and consistent. In line with the principle that "market leads and government facilitates", we will continue to create the optimal environment for all businesses to flourish.

117.    This is my maiden Budget. My policy on public finances is based on the premise of "allowing the community to take a respite and build up its strength" as expounded by the Chief Executive. With the objectives of promoting people-based governance, prudent management of public finances and leaving wealth with the people, I will do my best to strike a balance between reducing the fiscal deficit and safeguarding people's livelihood, so as to give ourselves a breathing space to restore our vigour.

118.    Madam President, it is now springtime when flowers are coming into bloom, and we can see the early dawn of our economic recovery. Let us work hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, to realise a bright future for Hong Kong.

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2003 | Important notices
Last revision date : 10 March, 2004