Hong Kong Budget 2018/2019
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan (“Mr Chan”), presented his first budget of the current-term Government to the Legislative Council on 28 February 2018.
Mr Chan explained that his budget has three main objectives:
(1) Diversified economy
To diversify Hong Kong’s economy to create wealth and provide wider and better development opportunities for youngsters.
(2) Investing for the future
To deploy resources to improve healthcare services in view of the ageing population and to improve Hong Kong’s living environment for an ideal smart city to work and live in.
(3) Caring and sharing
To provide more care and opportunities to children and youngsters and to give more support to middle-class families, grassroots and underprivileged.
Mr Chan said that the Government would proactively promote economic development by providing favourable conditions for emerging industries such as Innovation & Technology (I&T) and strengthening the competitiveness of the pillar industries (financial services industry, tourism, trading and logistics industry, business and professional services), construction industry and creative industries so that our economy will prosper in a sustained and diversified manner, create quality jobs for our youngsters.
Mr Chan revised the estimated surplus for 2017-18 to HK$138 billion (original estimate of HK$16.3 billion) due to a significant increase in revenue from land sales and stamp duty. Mr Chan proposed to share 40% of the surplus with the community and to use the remaining 60% for improving services and investing in the future.
Amongst other fiscal measures, Mr Chan proposed a number of tax measures and reliefs. He indicated that Hong Kong should on one hand maintain the competitiveness of its tax regime and on the other hand make suitable adjustments to ease the burden on taxpayers and enterprises, having regard to the prevailing fiscal position.