SCMP Friday, February 16, 2001

Antony Leung's statement

It is a great privilege to be appointed as the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. I am honoured that the Chief Executive recommended me, and that the appointment has been confirmed by the Central People's Government.
Being Financial Secretary is a most important appointment. I fully recognise the heavy responsibilities of this position. Over the years I have endeavoured to make a contribution to the community in different capacities. I have benefited tremendously from this, particularly during my tenure as chairman of the University Grants Committee and the Education Commission respectively. This experience has given me a most meaningful insight into the value of public service.
Like education, economic and financial policies touch the lives of all of us. As Hong Kong continues to recover from the Asian financial crisis, I look forward to working closely with my civil service colleagues to consolidate the achievements made so far. We will also continue to push forward our economic development in a way that benefits all sectors of the community. My aim is to provide economic opportunities for the many, not just the few.
As the Financial Secretary, I will maintain a sound monetary system and Hong Kong's business-friendly environment. My objective is to leverage Hong Kong's strengths to further promote the development of our financial services and different economic spheres, to realise Hong Kong's potentials as one of the world's leading economies.
I attach great importance to continuing the prudent management of public finances. It is incumbent on the Government to use our revenues and reserves carefully, as they are all public resources. The Basic Law has set down some very clear guidelines in this regard. Within these broad guidelines, I will endeavour to ensure that Hong Kong's financial position remains healthy and that our resources are used sensibly in the overall interest of the community.
I fully appreciate the heavy responsibilities associated with my appointment as Financial Secretary. Having worked in the banking sector for many years and served in the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee since 1993, I have a considerable understanding of the financial and economic affairs of Hong Kong. After assuming office, I will discuss with various sectors of the community and acquaint myself with the different areas of work falling within my portfolio. As I already know quite a few members of the Legislative Council and civil service colleagues through my service in the Executive Council and various advisory bodies, I am confident I can work closely with them in fulfilling my role as Financial Secretary.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Donald Tsang. As the first Chinese to assume the position of Financial Secretary, he has clearly accomplished a lot in the last six years. In particular, his successful defence of Hong Kong's financial markets during the Asian financial crisis and his determination to push through many reforms have helped our economy to recover quickly. I plan to build on this solid foundation to promote the further development of Hong Kong into a global economic centre. Thank you very much.