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Budget Speech

Mr President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens,

I move that the Appropriation Bill 2022 be read a second time.


2. The COVID-19 pandemic has plagued the entire world for two years, taking a heavy toll on economic activities and people's way of life.  Since the middle of last year, the epidemic situation in Hong Kong had been brought under control, with economic activities and daily life gradually getting back to normal.  Nevertheless, with the emergence of a virus variant in the past month or so, the epidemic situation in Hong Kong has taken a drastic turn for the worse.  The rapid spread of the virus and its profound impact have dealt a heavy blow to many people, disrupting both their life and work, and seriously affected the operations of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), thus undermining confidence in the future.  A gloomy atmosphere enveloped the Hong Kong community.

3. Taking prompt action to stabilise the epidemic situation is crucial for safeguarding the health and lives of our people.  It is also the key to maintaining people's confidence and stabilising our economy.  The care and guidance of the Central Government, together with the selfless support from the relevant departments and municipal governments, have bolstered the solidarity, confidence and indomitable spirit of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and all sectors of the community.  By making a concerted effort to fight the epidemic on all fronts and at full speed, we will surely win this battle against the virus.  We will deploy all available resources and take all necessary measures to fully support the anti-epidemic work.  The resources allocated for this cause in this Budget alone involve more than $54 billion. 

4. At this critical time, we need to direct more resources to relieve people's hardship and provide SMEs with some breathing space so as to stabilise the economy and maintain public confidence.  This is also what the general public expect of the Government.  With this in mind, this year's Budget will continue to adopt an expansionary fiscal policy with initiatives mainly focusing on four areas:

(a) supporting an all-out effort to win the fight against the epidemic;
(b) relieving the hardship of our people and SMEs;
(c) rendering support to the struggling economy and fostering post-epidemic economic revival; and
(d) investing for the future by planning ahead for the medium- and long-term development of our economy.

5. It is estimated that the counter-cyclical measures (costing a total of over $170 billion) mentioned in the Budget, together with the spending in infrastructure projects and other items, will have a fiscal stimulus effect of boosting the economy by around three percentage points.  I will elaborate the details afterwards.



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