After grossly underestimating Hong Kong’s surplus for eight years in a row, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah gave a more accurate figure this year during Wednesday’s 2016 budget speech. In previous years, he received much criticism for failing to utilise Hong Kong’s massive reserves effectively.

In 2015, it was estimated that the surplus would be HK$36.8 billion. On Wednesday, Tsang announced that the revised estimate stands at HK$30.5 billion.

For 2015, Tsang’s estimates are respectable: $36.8 billion estimated, compared to $30.5 billion revised. Photo: HKFP.

In 2014, it was estimated that the surplus would be HK$9.1 billion, but a year later, it was revised to HK$64.6 billion – more than 7 times the estimate.

Finance Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah. Photo: Screen cap from LegCo.

The most questionable estimation came in 2010, when he foresaw a deficit of HK$25.2 billion, yet the government ended up with a HK$71.3 billion surplus.

Tsang has been criticised by lawmakers such as Democratic Party Sin Chung-kai and Labour Party Lee Cheuk-yan, who say that the government has been sitting on massive capital reserves without any long-term plans for them.

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Hermina Wong

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.