HK rolls out fresh HK$2 billion package of relief measures to counter double whammy of ongoing protests and US-China trade war

23-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong has rolled out HK$2 billion (US$254 million) worth of relief measures to ease joblessness and support enterprises as the city reels from the double whammy of the ongoing political crisis and the US-China trade war.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on Tuesday revealed a package of measures to help the logistics and tourism sectors, which were hit hardest by the ongoing anti-government protests, including subsidising fuel costs of taxis and commercial vehicles.

Chan also called on landlords to offer sweeteners to tenants such as retailers, food and catering operators, and tourism and logistics firms.

The latest wave of relief measures came after a HK$19.1 billion package in August which was followed by another round of help worth HK$1.4 billion last month. Chan said all the measures, including ones announced in the budget, would boost the economy by 2 per cent.

“The relief measures will increase the chance of the government slipping into a deficit, but we will make good use of our resources on hand to help industries ride out the economic downturn,” Chan said.

“We hope property owners and landlords will support tenants, for example, retailers, restaurants, tourism and logistics operators.”

The tourism measures would be announced in due course, Chan said.

Some 130,000 drivers of commercial vehicles such as taxis will benefit from HK$1.35 billion worth of fuel cost subsidies, according to Chan.

Transport and housing chief Frank Chan Fan said taxi drivers would be subsidised with HK$1 per litre of liquefied petroleum gas, with details to be released in due course.

Rent cuts would be extended to tenants at government properties such as leisure venues, snack shops at parks, and waterfront facilities, at a cost of HK$600 million, Paul Chan said.

Under the shadow of the trade war, Hong Kong exports shrank 4.3 per cent in the first eight months of the year from the same period in 2018. The city’s economy only grew 0.5 per cent in the first half of 2019 year-on-year, the worst performance since the 2009 recession.

Tourism has taken a battering with protests dragging on since June. The latest statistics show tourist arrivals tumbled 50 per cent in the first 15 days of October following a year-on-year decline of 40 per cent in September, 30 per cent in August and 4.8 per cent in July.


Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post

Comments are closed.