Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release



Government announces measures involving to support enterprises, employees and the public

 



For more information, please contact

Melissa Ng in New York City: (212) 752 3320
Wing Yan Tong in San Francisco: (415) 835 9315

Daniel McAtee in Washington, D.C.: (202) 238 6360




April 8, 2020 - In response to the challenges arising from the COVID-19 virus, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, today announced a series of measures involving over HK$130 billion (US$16.66 billion) to help businesses stay afloat, keep workers in employment, relieve financial burdens of individuals and businesses and assist the economy to recover once the epidemic is contained.

She said the measures announced today are a response further to the relief package in the 2020-21 Budget and the first round of the Anti-epidemic Fund. She said the Government needs to adopt bold and prompt measures given that a wide range of economic activities have been severely disrupted, many businesses are facing pressure to close down and massive staff layoffs are anticipated.

The measures, which Mrs Lam described as unprecedented, include introducing an HK$80 billion (US$10.25 billion) Employment Support Scheme under which wage subsidies will be provided to eligible employers, and providing 16 types of support for specific sectors totaling HK$21 billion (US$2.69 billion). In addition, the Government will enhance the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme, help the MTR Corporation to provide a 20 per cent fare discount, temporarily relax the monthly threshold of the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme, grant interest-free deferral of loan repayments to all student loan repayees, allow deferrals of tax payments, and more, benefiting many businesses and people.

The total cost of the package is HK$137.5 billion (US$17.62 billion). Together with the HK$30 billion (US$3.84 billion) under the first round of the Anti-epidemic Fund and the HK$120 billion (US$15.38 billion) in Budget measures, the total fiscal implication is HK$287.5 billion (US$36.85 billion), representing 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

“Given the epidemic’s catastrophic impact on Hong Kong’s economy, the Government has to dig deep into its fiscal reserves accumulated over the years to help our businesses and people. With Hong Kong's fundamental strengths and our people’s resilience, we are confident that our city can ride out this storm and Hong Kong can be relaunched,” Mrs Lam said.

Mrs Lam also announced that, to show solidarity with the people, the Chief Executive, the Principal Officials (the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice and the 13 Bureau Secretaries) and the Director of the Chief Executive’s Office will take a 10 per cent pay cut for the coming 12 months. 


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