HK Government Seeks Committee Approval to Inject $27 Billion Into Virus Relief Fund
Hong Kong’s Anti-Epidemic Fund (AEF) may be in for a significant monetary boost. The HK Government is seeking approval for a $27 billion financial infusion proposal. Upon approval from the Legislative Council Finance Committee, the AEF will support a significant number of businesses and individuals. Fully cognisant of the pandemic’s overall effect, the Government is acting rapidly to secure the relief fund.
A new rollout of AEF assistance can support communities at all levels, especially at the grassroots. The $27 billion financial injection will facilitate 48 measures of assistance. It has the capacity to offer support to 750,000 individuals and 67,000 businesses.
Measures to Focus on Individuals
The proposal introduces the brand-new Temporary Unemployment Relief measure and another round of Job Creation Schemes. These measures will focus over 60% of the funding on individuals. Those benefitting via other AEF measures or receiving aid under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance will be ineligible.
Individuals eligible for Temporary Unemployment Relief will get a flat-rate and one-off payment of $10,000. Enrolment criteria include full-timers or part-timers, with wages not exceeding $30,000, who lost their jobs during the pandemic’s fifth wave. The Job Creation Scheme will create 30,000 jobs to enable those without one to start earning an income. Encompassing both the private and public sectors, these additional jobs will be time-limited.
There will also be a five-month $2,000 monthly allowance allocation towards frontliners, such as security, caregivers, etc. This covers Government service contractors and others working in private, commercial, and industrial areas.
Businesses Will Also Receive Relief
Companies reeling under the impact of premise closure or business restrictions will find some relief under the new measures. Eligible sectors include entertainment and service businesses such as cinemas, fitness centres, catering premises, hairdressers, etc. It also extends to harder-hit industries such as local primary producers and the tourism and transport industry.
Applications for the relief fund will be open within a month of obtaining the funds. In some instances, twice the amount from the previous rollout of subsidies is up for disbursement. There will also be a six-month 75% rental concession for specific areas such as Hong Kong Science Park, etc. Those in the creative arts and culture industries, especially eligible freelancers or the self-employed, can also apply for aid.
Smart Measures Strengthening the HK Economy
From safeguarding jobs to strengthening HK’s economy, the AEF measures will positively impact the community. With a potential boost from the relief fund, commerce should soon be returning to full swing.
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