109. I have pledged that the
Government will maintain fiscal discipline.
We have the determination and ability to attain
our fiscal targets.
Last year, I pledged to cut spending first and
reverse the rising trend of operating expenditure.
With the concerted efforts of my colleagues in
the various departments, our cost-saving measures are
now starting to produce results.
Last year, I said that I would reduce operating
expenditure to $200 billion by 2008?9.
This is now forecast to reduce to $201.2 billion
for 2004?5. I
said that I would bring public expenditure down to 20
per cent of GDP or below, and this is forecast to
decrease to 20.2 per cent next year.
We expect to achieve balance in the Consolidated
Account in 2007?8, one year ahead of target.
While we will persevere in restoring fiscal
balance, we have proposed a number of tax concessions to
relieve the burden on some taxpayers.
Our proposal to abolish estate duty will
encourage the further development of
as an international financial centre.
For the proposed introduction of GST, the
Government will give the public ample opportunity to
express their views.