PLC Paper No. LS 104

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council
on 20 February 1998

Legal Service Division Report on
Resolution under section 7(1)
of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2)

The Secretary for the Treasury has given notice that he will move this year’s Vote on Account Resolution in the Provisional Legislative Council meeting on 4 March 1998.

2. The purpose of the motion is to seek funds on account to enable the Government to carry on existing services between the start of the financial year on 1 April 1998 and the enactment of the Appropriation Ordinance. This procedure has long been established under section 7(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2).

3. According to paragraph 1 of the draft Resolution, the aggregate total sum sought under all heads is fixed at $70,888,669,000 this year (the sum sought last year was $43,116,451,000 ) and cannot be exceeded without the approval of this Council.

4. The funds on account sought under each subhead are calculated in percentage terms by reference to the provision shown in the draft Estimates. The percentages are determined in accordance with paragraph 4 of the draft Resolution. In summary, the effect of paragraph 4 is that except where there is a different percentage prescribed in the Schedule to the draft Resolution, the maximum percentage in respect of a Recurrent Account subhead is 20% and in respect of a Capital Account subhead is 100%. Under the same paragraph, the Financial Secretary is empowered to vary the funds on account in respect of any subhead, provided that these variations do not exceed the provision shown in respect of that subhead in the draft Estimates. Paragraph 3 of the draft resolution prescribes that, in respect of any head, the expenditure shall not exceed the aggregate of the amounts specified for each subhead in that head.

5. According to the draft speech of the Secretary for the Treasury, should the Appropriation Ordinance be enacted on 18 March 1998 as scheduled, then this resolution will cease to have effect.

6. The wordings of the resolution are similar to last year’s resolution except that there are some minor changes in the Chinese version. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolution are in order.

Prepared by

Ho Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
16 February 1998