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Budget Speech

Saving for the Future

143.    Our fiscal reserves currently stand at over $700 billion.  Of this amount, $220 billion is the balance of the Land Fund and $130 billion is held in funds with designated uses.  Only the remaining $400 billion or so, held in the General Revenue Account, may be flexibly deployed to meet the day-to-day operation of Government.  We can consider setting up a savings scheme to prepare for the future having regard to the experience of other economies.  One example is the setting up of a "Future Fund" comprising the Land Fund and a portion of future surpluses.  Government may draw on this contingency fund in the event of sustained budget deficit to finance strategic infrastructure projects conducive to Hong Kong's future economic development.

144.    An ageing population will pose sustained challenges to public finances.  The conclusions and recommendations of the Working Group have provided a scientific and objective basis for the community to better understand the issues, and consider rational and pragmatic options ahead.  We should take early action to address the challenges ahead when our public finances are still healthy.  My colleagues and I shall examine the options in detail considering views from various sectors of the community, and take forward appropriate measures.  I hope the experts and scholars in the Working Group will continue to tender their valuable advice to Government.



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