Mr. Paul Chan, Financial Secretary of the HKgov delivered the ’22-’23 Budget on 23 FEB. The budget outlined a series of measures to support businesses & residents that have been impacted by the pandemic and foster the economic recovery post epidemic.
In collaboration with Fidinam Hong Kong, the webinar highlighted the e-consumption vouchers and tax concessions measures for individuals & businesses.
Sara Silenzi started by giving a background, saying that last year was good, while the start of this year had been more difficult with the pandemic situation. She highlighted that the budget has an 18.9bn surplus and that there are 3 reasons for this surplus. First, an increase in sales revenue by the HKgov, second there was a profit in tax collection and third there was a decrease of the government expenses. She also said that there are two different measures to support business in HK due to the pandemic situation, including a e-consumption cash-voucher and tax concessions. She also told that the Financial secretary introduced 3 measures for the budget:
- SME Financing Guarantee Scheme: application period for guaranteed products will be extended until June 2023.
- Rental Enforcement Moratorium: landlords are prohibited from termination tenancies, providing services or taking legal actions.
- Export Credit Guarantee: Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation will guarantee up to 70% of the export financing.
Afterwards Anne De Roulhac talked about the electronic consumption vouchers that the HKgov has decided to renew. The amount of the vouchers is increased, even doubled. And will be provided to Hong Kong permanent residents. There will also be a tax reduction for domestic rental expenses.
Finally, Hong Kong is trying to become a ‘greener’ city and therefore included a set of sustainability goals.
- Carbon neutrality: facilitating the matching of international capital and quality green projects.
- Hong Kong as a green financial hub: issuing a total of US$4.5bn in green bonds.
- Enhancing green tech: additional HK$200 million funding for decarbonisation and environmental protection.
After a fifteen-minute presentation about the budget, Anne invited the audience for a Q&A session. Attendees were able to submit their questions online and Anne and Sara answered most of them. One of the questions was about ESS, the Employment Support Scheme, and whether our speakers had more information about it. The answer was that not much information was available, other than that it will be awarded to businesses again this year and that likely a salary cap would be applied of HK$30,000 but this last element is not yet confirmed as such. So we have to wait and see.