During the ongoing 2022-23 Hong Kong budget address, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced that the government would roll out a $64 billion anti-pandemic fund that would include a $20 billion budget to support ailing businesses and Hong Kong residents. The budget will include a new $10,000 consumption voucher scheme to be given to permanent residents in two instalments to boost spending.
The first $5,000 voucher will be disseminated in April and the second in August this year.
Other support for residents will include a reduction of salary tax by 100 per cent (subject to a ceiling of $10,000), rate concessions for residential properties, and a subsidy of $1,000 on electricity for eligible residential households. A tax deduction for residents who rent their homes or tax under personal assessment is also being proposed to help Hongkongers. Exam fees will be free for all students aiming for the 2023 Diploma of Secondary Education.
To help businesses during these difficult times, the government will propose a measure to allow SME tenants to be able to delay payments for their rentals for up to six months. Once approved, property owners will not be allowed to hound the tenants for the rent. The existing Special 100 percent Loan Guarantee Scheme set to expire in June will also be extended by one year to help small and medium-sized businesses, which allows them to borrow up to $9 million and repay only the interest but not the principal sum for 10 years.
The anti-epidemic fund will also cover a budget of $13.2 billion to create time‑limited jobs in the public and private sectors.
The current final budget address is still ongoing, watch this space for more information. Final details of the 2022-23 Hong Kong budget will be available on the government's website.