Tung Chee-hwa yesterday declined to commit himself to lowering the unemployment rate to a specific level in his second term. But he was confident that the package of measures being implemented would have an impact in the coming years. In his first appearance in the Legislative Council since his new term began a week ago, Mr Tung stressed unemployment was top of his agenda. 'I have been trying to put myself into the shoes of the jobless people and think from time to time what could be done . . . Even in my dreams, I think about unemployment,' he said. But he stressed unemployment problems could not be resolved in one or two years or by a few measures. Unionist legislator Lau Chin-shek asked if Mr Tung would set an acceptable unemployment target in the second term. Mr Lau asked when the unemployment rate would improve from the present record level of 7.4 per cent, representing 200,000 people out of work. Mr Tung said: 'It's not easy to achieve any immediate effect. I cannot give a particular figure. But our direction is very clear and we'll try our best.' Defending the policy of pursuing innovation and adding value, the chief executive stressed Hong Kong still had an edge over its competitors and urged people not to lose confidence. 'To lower unemployment and to create wealth for the people are now our responsibilities. I'm confident that we will see some achievements in the next five years,' Mr Tung said. An extra 38,000 jobs will be available in the next few years, including those from the Disneyland project on Lantau, the Science Park, the Cyberport development and 20-odd guesthouses soon to come in to operation, according to Mr Tung. A population policy will also be hammered out in the next few months. According to Mr Tung, issues to be tackled include problems arising from the influx of low-skilled labour from the mainland and the job-market competition between foreign and local domestic helpers.