HKCIEA’s Comment on “2019-20 Budget”
The Financial Secretary (F.S.) just released the second Budget of the term. Although Hong Kong has been susceptible to economic headwinds, “every cloud has a silver lining”, as the F.S. said, and he encouraged the public to have every confidence towards future. In our opinion, the government took a pragmatic and prudent approach to ensure the health of public finances and shows determination in improving people’s livelihood, supporting employment and economic growth.
Over the past few years, we have been making continuous efforts in soliciting Government support towards reindustrialization, in order to address excessive uniformity of Hong Kong’s industrial structure. The Budget measure of appropriating $2 billion to help industries set up production lines is definitely pleasing and we look forward to seeing increasingly more support in nurturing prosperity of high value added industries, so as to achieve economic transformation.
We also welcome the acceptance of some of our opinion, including increasing the funding ceiling per enterprise under the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestics Sales” (the BUD Fund) to $3million and further expanding assisted markets to 21 economies with which Hong Kong has free- trade deals, as well as expediting the building of network of overseas Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices to help local enterprises access overseas markets. At the same time, we feel encouraged by the proposal of strategies that aim to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as a central city in the Greater Bay Area, including the introduction of concrete measures for innovation and technology and measures in regard to the shipping and logistics industry to support of the development of high-value added shipping and air transportation. The exemption of registration fees, reduction of profits tax and extension of application period of the Special Concessionary Measures under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS) etc are also uplifting in a sense that these can assist economic development in new fields and areas.
In addition to launching various policies to back up enterprises, we hope the Government can also understand the needs of enterprises and allow them to gain the most from the funds by making adjustments accordingly. For instance, the Technology Voucher Program is regularized while the funding ceiling per enterprise has been raised to $4million to help SMEs upgrade and boost productivity with technology. However, the scope of funding support is too small to allow SMEs to access relevant resources.
As to extending the area covered by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, the government shall increase funding for the Offices and boost Key Performance Indicators (KPI), which shall include introducing the business environment in external areas to potential Hong Kong companies that are interested in reaching out, aiding Hong Kong Businesses that expand beyond Hong Kong, as well as promoting opportunities in our place.
The Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ & Exporters’ Association
27 Feb, 2019