The government should consider issuing Sars bonds to fund measures needed to help Hong Kong tackle the outbreak, Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong said yesterday. Such a move would save having to dip into Hong Kong's reserves, Mr Yam told legislators. The government announced last month an $11.8 billion relief package which included assistance for the health service and sectors hardest hit by the economic impact of the outbreak. 'The government could use its reserves or it could consider issuing bonds for expenditure related to Sars,' Mr Yam said. 'If the financial secretary decided to issue Sars bonds, it would also help develop the Hong Kong debt market.' Speaking at a financial affairs panel meeting in the Legislative Council, Mr Yam said there were no concrete plans for a bond issue and it would be a matter for Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung. Mr Leung's spokesman said he had an open mind to Mr Yam's suggestion. 'As stated in his budget speech in March, Mr Leung does not consider issuing bonds as a means of solving the deficit problem,'' he said. 'Mr Leung would, however, be open-minded to issuing bonds for other purposes.' Mr Yam said the government reserves stood at above $300 billion, indicating it could issue bonds at a low interest rate.