ANN/CHINA DAILY – The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) called for another round of HKD5,000 (USD638) consumption vouchers to raise public confidence and stimulate the economy as the city’s economic recovery remains fragile.
HKGCC submitted its proposals to the Hong Kong SAR government for the financial secretary’s upcoming Budget 2023-24 which will be unveiled on February 22.
“We need the booster. It is like someone who has been sick for a long time and just recently recovered, you need to continue the medicine in order to help the person to recover fully,” said HKGCC deputy chairman Agnes Chan.
Chan estimates the disbursement of HKD5,000 consumption vouchers would cost the government HKD32 billion, compared to its fiscal reserves of HKD800 billion. “This will definitively help and it will bring other positive effects as well for other industries. But we are not anticipating the disbursement of consumption vouchers will become a recurrent measure in the government’s budget.”
Besides the consumption voucher recommendation, HKGCC suggests other short-term measures such as providing rent/rate rebates, extending the Principal Payment Holiday Scheme and the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, and providing 100 per cent rebate on profits and salaries tax with a raised cap of HKD20,000 to HKD25,000.
The business chamber also urged the government to address labour shortages, especially among middle-ranked managers.
HKGCC Chief Executive Officer George Leung proposed that the government upgrade the skills of middle-ranked managers and consider importing low-skilled labour for certain industries.
HKGCC also urged the government to attract more companies to set up regional headquarters in Hong Kong by providing conditional preferential tax rates.