HKCIEA’s Comment on “2019 Policy Address”
The 2019-2020 Policy Address by the Chief Executive mainly focuses on 4 aspects: housing policy, land supply, improvement of people’s livelihood and diversified economy. In regard to the society’s demand for public housing and land supply, we, the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ & Exporters’ Association, welcome the proposal of stress-relieving measures by the government for tackling housing and land shortfall. However, the Policy Address has not adequately responded to the expectations of the industrial and commercial sector in promoting economy, especially those of the SMEs that have been affected by social events in recent months.
Since the land and housing problem has been persistently plaguing the Hong Kong society, we are pleased by the government’s plan in resuming 400 hectares of brown field for public housing development and providing 10,000 transitional housing units within 5 years and 3 years respectively, its Land Sharing Pilot Scheme (LSPS), the Lantau Tomorrow Vision project, and other short, medium and long term plans. We also look forward to the government’s best endeavours to alleviate tight land supply and benefit the public. Besides, the property price in Hong Kong is at historic high and quite a number of families that are not eligible for subsidised public rental housing cannot afford to buy a home. It is hoped that the government would delve into solutions for non-home-owning sandwich families while coordinating with commercial land use to achieve balanced development that deals with population growth and housing pressure.
We also appreciate the government’s injection into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD Fund) and the SME Export Marketing Fund, such offers Hong Kong import and export companies that are vulnerable in the US-China trade war more substantial help in expanding market in the Mainland and overseas. But at the same time, although many local SMEs from the retail, tourism and catering industry etc. suffer from negative economic impacts casted by the recent riot, the Policy Address gives no effective corresponding measure.
Over the past few years, We have been suggesting the government to relax the importation of talents and labours subject to the condition to deal with restricted growth of industries resulted from labour shortage, and we are glad about the relaxed admission of IT talents in this Policy Address. However, labour import for industries that has keen demand for labour (Eg. elderly service and cleaning) remains unaddressed. In light of the tight labour market, the government should conduct in-depth research and formulate corresponding policies, so as not to constrain the development of different industries.
A stable and harmonious social environment is requisite for economic development and the enhancement of people’s livelihood, all efforts are in vain unless the government stops violence and curbs disorder. To our disappointment, this Policy Address, however, barely sheds light on countermeasures towards the situation and has not proposed any effective solutions to this urgent crisis.
The Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ & Exporters’ Association