The 2016-17 Budget
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Budget Speech

Mr President,

        I move that the Appropriation Bill 2016 be read a second time.


2.    This is my ninth year as Financial Secretary.  Over the past years, the people of Hong Kong and I together have witnessed the incessant ups and downs in the global economy.  I feel blessed that Hong Kong has managed to ride out the storms.  We have secured decent economic growth.  We have maintained low unemployment and we have managed healthy public finances.  I am deeply indebted to the previous generations for the solid foundations that they have built.  I am profoundly impressed too by the tenacity of the Hong Kong people.

3.    Openness, diversity, freedom and the rule of law, which have all along been the core values of the people of Hong Kong, have guided our way.  Even though the development path of Hong Kong has not been an easy one, our direction is clear and, step by step, we have been charting our course, a course that we call our own.  I think we, the Hong Kong people, are proud of our ability to persevere through these turbulent years.

4.    It is only two months since the start of 2016, but the occurrence of incidents in Hong Kong has given rise to grave concerns.

5.    Two weeks ago, in the early hours of the second day of the Lunar New Year, a serious unlawful incident broke out in Mong Kok.  A handful of people lost their rationality and attacked the police officers and reporters that were present, provoking a large-scale riot and causing dozens of injuries.

6.    I believe many people share my feelings towards the incident.  Distressed and angry, I was perplexed as to why violence had flared in Hong Kong.  I was shocked that our city could have turned overnight into such a strange and alien place that I hardly recognised.  I was troubled why the core values that we long cherished had been devoured by violence and hatred.

7.    Acute social conflicts will add uncertainties to the already adverse economic environment.  2016 is an election year.  Apart from the Legislative Council (LegCo) By-election to be held four days from today, a LegCo General Election is scheduled to be held in six months' time.  We anticipate that political disputes will only intensify over the coming months.

8.    Politics and economics are closely intertwined.  Political volatility will unavoidably impact on our economy.

9.    It is the duty of Government to take on challenges in our society.  As Financial Secretary, it is my duty to mobilise resources effectively to maintain Hong Kong's economic development and fiscal health; to support local enterprises, in particular the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to cope with economic volatilities; and to safeguard the jobs of workers.

10.    Government should also continue to fortify the economic foundation of Hong Kong, promote diversity, and channel public resources towards improving people's livelihood and supporting the disadvantaged.  All sectors should have a fair chance in sharing the fruits of our economic success, and everyone in Hong Kong, regardless of age, gender and race, should be able to unleash their potential and lead a better life through hard work.


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Last revision date : 24 February 2016