Budget surplus warning

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 March, 1996, 12:00am

The Government came under fire yesterday for drafting a surplus budget by cutting expenditure on infrastructure projects.

Speaking before the closure of the plenary session, the Joint Liaison Group Chinese team representative Chen Zuo'er said China welcomed the 1996-97 Budget, which is scheduled to be debated at the Legislative Council this week and tabled for approval next week.

'But China does not want to see it achieved by cutting back on other expenditure which is essential to Hong Kong's social and economic development,' Mr Chen said.

According to the Budget announced earlier this month, there will be a deficit of $2.5 billion in 1995-96. It will return to a surplus of $1.6 billion in 1996-97.

Mr Chen said in Beijing yesterday: 'We welcome the fact that the Government manages to change the deficit budget in the past to a surplus one this year, although the surplus is not so much.' He said the cut in spending on infrastructure projects this year was drastic.

'We do not want to see this happen because infrastructure projects are so vital in keeping the economy strong,' he said.

Spending on infrastructure should not fluctuate too much, he said.

'We expect the co-operation from Britain as the society is going through a period of alteration during the transition,' he said.



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