LC Paper No. CB(1) 334/98-99
Paper for the House Committee meeting on 23 October 1998
on the monitoring of issues relating to the
overall economic development of Hong Kong
The House Committee agreed at its meeting on 25 September 1998 that the Secretary General should arrange for the chairmen of the three economy-related Panels to meet on the division of work among the Panels in relation to economic issues and the manner in which the overall economic development could be monitored by these Panels.
2. Assisted by the Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General 1, the Chairmen of the three economy-related Panels, namely the Panel on Financial Affairs, the Panel on Economic Services and the Panel on Trade and Industry, had a meeting on 8 October 1998 to deliberate on the most appropriate arrangements in taking forward the decision of the House Committee regarding the monitoring of the overall economic development of Hong Kong. The deliberation was conducted on the basis of the House Committee's decision that one of the three economy-related Panels should keep under review macro economic issues and invite the Financial Secretary to brief Members on a periodic basis on such issues, provided that such issues did not overlap those within the terms of reference of other Panels.
3. The conclusion of the Panel Chairmen's discussion is that the scope of work that needs to be addressed refers mainly to the overall economic performance and measures to revive and revitalize the economy. While specific subject areas or measures could be followed up by the respective Panels, a general review of the economic performance would help Members focus on the areas to be further examined. It is therefore agreed that one of the Panels should invite the Financial Secretary to give a briefing on a periodic basis, e.g. once every three to four months, on macro economic issues. These briefings should be open to all non-Panel Members. As for the follow-up on specific matters which straddle the work of more than one Panel, joint Panel meetings should be held.
4. As to which of the existing Panels is in the best position to take up the responsibility, the three Panel Chairmen consider that the view of the Financial Secretary should be sought. The feedback from the Acting Financial Secretary is that as reviews of economic performance are conducted on the basis of the findings of the Government Economist who works to the Secretary for Financial Services, it appears more appropriate for the briefings on this subject to be conducted by the Panel on Financial Affairs. This view is considered acceptable by the three Panel Chairmen.
5. Members are invited to advise if the Panel on Financial Affairs should be tasked with the responsibility to invite the Financial Secretary to brief the Panel, as well as all other Members, on macro economic issues such as overall economic performance, measures to revive and revitalize the economy, etc. on a periodic basis, as described in paragraph 3 above.
Legislative Council Secretariat
17 October 1998