Budget Speech

Rising to Challenges

23.    To seize the opportunities, we must look squarely into the problems of land and manpower, which have been hindering the economic and social development of Hong Kong.

Land Supply

24.           Hong Kong has been plagued by land shortage for years.  The problem not only affects people's livelihood, but also restrains our growth potential.  We must proactively address this problem with firm resolve.  The Task Force on Land Supply established last year is striving to forge a consensus in the community on this issue.

Human Capital

25.    Furthermore, a shortage of workforce and talent has also impeded the economic development and competitiveness of Hong Kong.

26.    The latest unemployment rate of below three per cent reflects a tight labour market in Hong Kong.  With a rapidly ageing population, our workforce will fall from its peak in the coming few years.  On the premise that local workers' priority for employment will be safeguarded, we should consider increasing imported labour in a timely manner and on an appropriate scale to address the specific needs of individual sectors.

27.    The Commission for the Planning of Human Resources led by the Chief Secretary for Administration will commence operation shortly.  Fostering collaboration across bureaux and various sectors, the Commission will examine and co-ordinate existing policies and measures from a macro perspective.

28.    In parallel, the Government will continue to invest in education, training and retraining to enhance the quality and competitiveness of our workforce.  In order to cater for the development needs of various sectors and industries, we will also enhance our talent admission arrangements to attract talent from outside Hong Kong.  The Labour and Welfare Bureau is finalising the talent list, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2018.

Building Consensus

29.    The land and manpower problems in Hong Kong cannot be solved with financial resources alone.  We should not shy away from the different voices in the community.  Instead, in the spirit of "seeking common ground while shelving major differences", we should build consensus in a pragmatic and rational manner, and join hands to overcome constraints.  While there are vast opportunities for Hong Kong's development, they do not knock twice or wait for anyone.  We have to stay united and seize each and every opportunity.



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