Expect fewer handouts from Paul Chan

January 11, 2021 10:09
Photo: Reuters

Some Hongkongers may prefer to receive more support from the government in the form of cash handouts, distribution of vouchers or more tax concessions to ease the pain from the pandemic, Financial secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday that although he fully acknowledged such demands, the alarming surge in budget deficit and ongoing economic uncertainties mean he will have to keep enough resources to tackle whatever upcoming challenge there is going to be.

On his official blog, Chan said government reserves dropped about 30 percent to some HK$800 billion in just one year after introducing numerous relief measures amid the pandemic.

With the pandemic still holding back the economic recovery, “there's a need to reserve resources to tackle what we already know and the unknowns," he wrote.

Weak global economy and the tension between China and the US add to the risks and uncertainties Hong Kong is already facing, he added.

Still, Chan said he will maintain or even increase public spending and investments to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn, while positioning the city for a comeback when the pandemic is over.

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