Paul Chan, the financial secretary, hasn't had it easy as Hong Kong's economy contracted in three of the last four years. The fiscal deficit surged after China's crackdown on local dissent and the territory's isolation from the rest of the world.
Indeed, Chan said on Wednesday that the budget shortfall for the fiscal year 2022–2023 was roughly three times greater than his first projection.
As a result, his budget plan had to win over an audience that wanted to see a quick economic turnaround and specific steps for Hong Kong to keep Singapore from overtaking it as the region's top location for commerce, talent, and investment.
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But the fiscal year 2023–2024 budget fell short of expectations of how the government will assist in carrying out Chief Executive John Lee's vision of luring global talent to the city.