Children and youth are the bridges to the future for every society. The DAB feels that the government should provide more financial resources to children and youth development and set up an “Infant Fund” for infants born locally, after researching the current children’s development fund and how foreign countries run their children’s development fund in a sustainable manner.
DAB Legislative Councilor Ann Chiang explained the main reason for setting up an “Infant Fund”, which is that many young people today have a pessimistic view of the future and see no method to secure housing, a secure job and opportunities for upward social mobility. Hong Kong should brainstorm and then initiate a program that could bring hope to future generations of Hong Kong.
The “Infant Fund” we are thinking of is a long-term investment fund. The government will first invest $100 billion in this fund and allow the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to administer and invest in the fund. At the same time, the government can establish an Infant Fund Account Administrative Subcommittee that is responsible for controlling, administering and investing in the fund. Once the fund is operational, every infant born in Hong Kong will become eligible for a personal account in the “Infant Fund”. The family will receive $10,000 in the first year of the infant’s life as the founding amount of their account from the Administrative Subcommittee. After that a combination of this fund and the parents will provide funds at a ratio of 1 to 0.5 per year for the “Infant Fund” and the parent’s bank account respectively. Each year money will be deposited in the fund and also the bank accounts of the child’s parents. For example, every year $4,000 will be invested in the “Infant Fund” account, while the parents will invest $2,000 during the same period, saving a total of $6,000 over the year when combined. Thus the family will continue collecting funds until the child reaches his or her 18th birthday. The money can be used for education, home ownership, and medical costs while the money can be combined with the MPF. Also, in order to support the children of families in poverty, the government should allow families with financial difficulties to be exempted from paying while still receiving the funds.
We strongly believe that this proposal can help to greatly ease the financial burden on parents having to care for children. It will allow families with different financial backgrounds the opportunity to share in the fruits of development while narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Having grown up learning good saving habits from childhood will allow these children to grow into adults with greater confidence in their preparation and a more optimistic and positive attitude to the future. What is also worth noting is that as the government will help to provide for the next generation, they will grow up being able to share in the fruits of development and prosperity. This will help the new generation of youth to feel a greater sense of belonging with their government, and the government has said that the “Infant Fund” will help raise the birthrate of Hong Kong residents and therefore help to serve as a long-term pillar of Hong Kong’s population policy.
Media Contact: Mr. Choi, Office of the Legislative Councilor Ann Chiang (2539-6111)