Mr President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens,
I move that the Appropriation Bill 2023 be read a second time.
2. This is the first Budget of the current‑term Government and also the first to be presented since Hong Kong's emergence from the epidemic and resumption of quarantine-free travel with the Mainland and the international community.
3. With a clear direction ahead and specific goals in mind, Hong Kong is in a new stage of the journey towards vigorously pursuing our economic growth, and moving to high‑quality development and enhancing people's quality of life.
4. The current external environment remains severe and ever‑changing and the Government has also endured a number of stress tests over the past few years. Yet, amid the adversities, the Government's financial position as well as Hong Kong's financial system have displayed remarkable resilience and remained healthy, and our community at large is stable.
5. The theme of this year's Budget is: Leaping Forward Steadily, Together We Bolster Prosperity under Our New Vision.
6. Our economy is at the early recovery stage, and members of the public as well as a large number of enterprises are still weighed down by tremendous pressure and require support. Meanwhile, in the face of intense competition and imminent development needs, we have to fully and speedily press ahead with high-quality economic development, which requires forward planning and a front-loaded approach. Overcoming resource constraints will require innovative solutions. Overall, we will take a "moderately liberal" fiscal stance this year. Hence, this is still a deficit budget. More than 80 per cent of the resources involved for the budget initiatives will benefit the general public and small and medium sized enterprises. We will support people in need to the best of our ability, and sustain the impetus to economic recovery in moving towards high-quality development. I will elaborate on this in the following chapters.
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