February 26th, 2020
The DAB feels that this Budget is able to help the public affected by the epidemic tide over this difficult period.
We would agree that the Budget appropriately responded to the expectations of the general public through a series of relief measures totaling $120 billion during this difficult period. LegCo should approve the $10,000 handouts as soon as possible and the government should distribute them in a fast and simple way. We also suggest the government to cover the payout for non-permanent residents through the Love Fund.
The Budget has adopted many proposals of the DAB which include the $10,000 payout, reducing salaries tax and profits tax, waiving rates of domestic properties, providing an extra month’s allowance of the CSSA payment as well as the OAA, OALA, the Disability allowance and Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme, paying one month’s rent for lower income tenants living in public rental units and paying DSE examination fees. In terms of supporting enterprises, the Budget set up a 100% Financing Guarantee Scheme for SMEs, waives business registration fees, subsidizes electricity, water and sewage charges for four extra months and reduces rents for tenants on government land for six months.
Nevertheless, the Budget is still inadequate in many aspects, especially in regards to taking the lead to reduce rents. In terms of safeguarding jobs, we ask the government to proactively open up temporary jobs and establish an unemployment fund to provide support to the unemployed. In terms of medical care, the government has to improve the efficiency of the Hospital Authority (HA) and demand the HA to set benchmarks and performance pledges to ensure quality service. In terms of stimulating the economy, we hope the government planning to promote various economic initiatives to do so by planning ahead of time to implement these initiatives after the crisis has passed. Some of the government proposals on technology and innovation put forward last year have still not been approved for funding due to filibusters within LegCo. The opposition camp should not play politics this time or else none of these proposals will be passed and economic growth will remain sluggish.
Media Inquiries: Starry LEE, DAB Chairperson 7770 0820