Hong Kong – The Hong Kong Government on Wednesday pledged 10,000-Hong Kong-dollar (or 1,280-US-dollar) handouts to adult permanent residents in a bid to tackle the city’s economic downturn.
The Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, Paul Chan, while announcing his 120-billion-Hong Kong-dollar-budget (or 23.4 billion US dollars) for 2020-2021 said decisive measures would be implemented to tackle the city’s economic woes.
“These were partly brought on by the coronavirus outbreak and anti-government protests in the city.
“I decided to disburse the 10,000-dollar payments with a view to encouraging and boosting local consumption on the one hand, and relieving people’s financial burden on the other.” Chan said.
The move, however, benefited about seven million people within the ages of 18 and above, and expected to cost the government 71 billion dollars.
Hong Kong’s economy has been dealt a double blow with over six months of anti-government protests against a now withdrawn extradition Bill, and the coronavirus epidemic.
However, the epidemic caused public anger over lack of available protective face masks as well as panic buying of essential items such as toilet paper, rice and tinned goods.
Chan forecast a budget deficit of about 37.8 billion dollars for the 2019-20 financial year, rising to about 139.1 billion in 2020-21.
“Though a record high deficit is envisaged in next year’s budget, I believe that only with such a budget can we help our community and local enterprises rid their difficulties,” Chan said.