The COVID-19 outbreak continues and heavily hit our economy. Many SMEs are at the risk of closing down. DAB Legislative Councillors Wilson OR, Steven HO and Ben CHAN have always been deeply concerned with the business environment for tenants of public markets. Recently, they have received some calls for help from these tenants who are undergoing severe financial strain and yet are not covered by the Anti-epidemic Fund, especially tenants of cooked food centres. Therefore, we urge the government to fully support public market tenants with the following proposals:
Subsidize stalls in cooked food centres under the FEHD
Currently the “Anti-epidemic Fund” (the Fund) allows a one-off subsidy to support eligible food license holders (depending on the license, these businesses may receive anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000 per business). However, cooked food stalls in public markets under the FEHD are unable to apply for subsidies as they do not have a food license which is exempted under the current legislation. We urge the government to expand the scope of the Fund to cover these cooked food stalls in public markets.
Implement rent concession for six more months or rent-free for six months
Due to protests and riots, the government launched a six-month rent concession for public market stalls in October last year, but this measure will end in March. We urge the government to quickly extend the concession to September (extending the concession period by half a year) and exempt the air-conditioning fee during this period, and exempt the rent of the hardest-hit cooked food centres under the FEHD from April to September.
Oppose the FEHD raising rents
According to the FEHD documents, the rental freeze for the public market stalls will expire on July 1st this year. The authorities will then implement a new arrangement to adjust market rental annually to catch up with inflation. The rental will be adjusted in line with the average of the year-on-year rates of change in Consumer Price Index(A)(CPI(A)) in the 12-month period six months preceding the respective rental adjustment dates. Calculating from July 1st of this year, the rents will rise by 2.9% per stall. We strongly oppose this arrangement during the virus outbreak.
Make the approval procedure of the Fund more user-friendly
We urge simplifying the procedures of the Fund and shortening the time required to approve each case in order to provide financial aid to desperate retail tenants as soon as possible.
Media Inquiries: DAB Legislative Councilor Wilson Or (9266 1035)、Steven Ho (2682 0155)、Ben Chan (9121 4919)