Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 117/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting of the Legislative Council on 26 February 1999

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 she will move this year's Vote on Account Resolution ("the draft Resolution") in the Legislative Council meeting on 10 March 1999.

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 1999 and the enactment of the Appropriation Ordinance. This procedure has long been established under section 7(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2). This draft Resolution normally takes place at the Legislative Council meeting next following the Financial Secretary's Budget Speech, when the Appropriation Bill is introduced into the Legislative Council (which will take place on 3 March 1999).

3. According to paragraph 1 of the draft Resolution, the aggregate total sum sought under all heads is fixed at $59,159,268,000 this year (the sum sought last year was $70,888,669,000) 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 of Expenditure 1999-2000. 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. Upon the enactment of the Appropriation Ordinance, the vote on account will be subsumed.

5. The legal and drafting aspects of the draft resolution are in order.

Prepared by
Ho Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
22 February 1999