(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.)
Financial Secretary Paul Chan today announced a series of measures to support enterprises and safeguard jobs.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mr Chan said Hong Kong’s economy faced significant downward pressure in the second quarter and that the situation has become more austere in recent months.
“As to the upcoming economic situation, it is indeed very challenging.
“It is prudent and reasonable to assume that the economic headwinds will continue to be very strong. So we need to get ourselves prepared.”
Noting the measures aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Mr Chan said it is necessary to inspire confidence in terms of the city’s preparedness and ability to cope with economic difficulties.
He said a total of 27 groups of government fees will be waived for 12 months to benefit a wide range of sectors and that rent for most government land short-term tenancies will be cut 50% for six months.
The Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading & Domestic Sales and the SME Export Marketing Fund will each receive a $1 billion injection to support enterprises in exploring business opportunities, Mr Chan said.
The Mortgage Corporation Insurance Limited will also introduce a new loan guarantee product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme. The Government will provide for approved loans a 90% guarantee to help individuals looking to set up new businesses.
On training workers, the Employees Retraining Board will devise specific programmes to help jobless and under-employed workers to upgrade their skills and increase competitiveness.
Mr Chan noted that some of the government fee waivers require subsidiary legislation subject to vetting by lawmakers.
The Government will put the subsidiary legislation to the Legislative Council in October, he said, adding that funds will also be sought from LegCo as soon as possible for measures that require additional resources.