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110.    Madam President, our economy is improving steadily and so is the Government's financial position.  This is encouraging.  Accordingly, some people argue that, even if the Government does not increase its spending or substantially reduce tax, it is at least time to relax its expenditure control.  I do not agree.  We should take a longer-term view, setting aside any short-term interests and political considerations and work together to lay a solid foundation, so that Hong Kong can stay ahead of the competition.

111.    Promoting stability and development has been the theme of this year's Budget.  I will uphold the principle of 岞arket Leads, Government Facilitates?  We will be more proactive in our facilitation work, so as to provide a favourable platform for our enterprises.  We will also maintain strict fiscal discipline, ensure the effective use of resources and leave wealth with the people.  While promoting economic development, we will, of course, not lose sight of the needy in the community.

112.    Hong Kong has encountered many challenges, but on each occasion we have emerged stronger.  This demonstrates that Hong Kong people are tenacious and resilient, and understand how to take advantage of opportunities.  As a member of the administration, I will adopt a forward-looking and pragmatic approach to my work.  I will be responsive, proactive and consistent in looking after the interests of various sectors of the community.  Let us work together to make Hong Kong a more vibrant, colourful and harmonious city.

113.    Madam President, this Council will go into its Easter recess after the announcement of this year's Budget and will not resume meeting until April, after the new financial year has commenced.  Immediately after the delivery of my Budget Speech, therefore, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury will move the Vote on Account Resolution in this Council to seek funds on account, to enable the Government to carry on existing services between the start of the new financial year and the enactment of the Appropriation Ordinance.  I hope Members will remain in the Chamber and pass the resolution today.  I would like to thank them for their co-operation and understanding.



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2004 | Important notices
Last revision date : 16 March, 2005