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Hong Kong chief delivers 2007-08 policy address
Latest Updated at 2007-October-11 09:56:59
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Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced Wednesday morning a series of plans that chart the new blueprint for the city in the coming five years.

In his annual televised policy address titled "A New Direction for Hong Kong" at the Legislative Council here Wednesday morning, Tsang outlined ambitious plans that cover 10 major infrastructure projects, environment protection, tax relief measures and 12-year free education.

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang delivers 2007-08 policy address titled "A New Direction for Hong Kong" at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China, Oct. 10, 2007.聽 (Xinhua Photo)

"I am confident because Hong Kong's economy is back on track, registering rapid growth over the past 15 quarters," Tsang said athis opening for the first policy address since he was reelected as Chief Executive in March 2007, adding Hong Kong has seen an average annual growth of 7.7 percent from 2004 to 2006 while the first half of 2007 also seeing the city's further economic growth of 6.3 percent.

Tsang said his administration would strive for a sustainable, balanced and diversified development while maintaining social harmony by promoting economic development through infrastructure projects with a view to creating new employment opportunities.

While adhering to the principle of "big market, small government" and to containing public expenditure below 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Tsang said, the HKSAR government would push ahead 10 major infrastructure projects for the years to come.

"Our efforts in promoting infrastructure development over the past decade did not match expectations," Tsang said, adding that overall expenditure on infrastructure for this year may be the lowest in recent years.

According to Tsang's plans, the 10 large-scale infrastructure projects covering transportation, cross-boundary integration and new urban development areas would roughly bring about more than 100 billion HK dollars (about 12.82 billion U.S. dollars) annually of the added value to Hong Kong's economy and create some 250,000 additional jobs.

In parallel with those 10 major infrastructure projects, Tsang also pledged that the HKSAR government would reinforce Hong Kong's position as a global financial center through building a consolidated and diversified financial market measures, such as strengthening cooperation with the Chinese mainland on financial market linkage and interaction and developing an Islamic bond market in Hong Kong.

In his Policy Address, Tsang also elaborated on plans concerning cooperation with the Chinese mainland, assistance to Hong Kong's small and medium enterprises in the Chinese mainland.

Tsang also delivered his tax relief promises during his reelection campaigning, announcing a tax reduction and rates waiving package worth 7.6 billion HK dollars (about 1 billion U. S. dollars).

According to the package, the standard rate of salaries tax will be lowered to 15 percent in 2008-09 fiscal year and the profits tax will be cut by one percentage point to 16.5 percent in 2008-09.

Tsang also announced to extend the government's assistance to low-income citizens, saying poverty alleviation remains the HKSAR government's priority in the next five years, offering 12-year free education starting from the 2008-09 school year. Hong Kong has been providing nine-year free education through public primary and secondary schools.

He urged enterprises to look beyond their economic role in society and shoulder social responsibility in areas such as wage protection, environmental protection, heritage conservation and building a caring society.

"For these strategies to succeed, the HKSAR government, enterprises and individual citizens must each play their part," Tsang said.

"When people from different social strata and age groups, and people of different political views, all strive for progress and advancement, we will embark upon a new journey for a golden decade. "
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Donald Tsang speaks to the press in Hong Kong, shortly after delivering 2007-08 policy address titled "A New Direction for Hong Kong" at the Legislative Council on Oct. 10, 2007. (Xinhua Photo) 

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website

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