Hong Kong government rolls out HK$9.5 billion relief package
The Hong Kong government will set aside HK$9.5 billion (US$1.23 billion) as relief support for businesses to help them tide through the pandemic.
Financial Secretary Paul Mo-po announced Wednesday that the borrowing limit for a government full guarantee loan scheme will be raised to HK$6 million (US$773,171) for small and medium-sized enterprises, according to the South China Morning Post.
About 180,000 Hongkongers who were unemployed for at least two months since the start of last year will also be eligible to apply for low-interest bank loans as early as April. Under a special one-off scheme fully guaranteed by the government, some HK$15 billion (US$1.93 billion) would be set aside for loans to individuals.
Individuals who can prove to a bank that they were employed for at least three months after January 2020, but subsequently lost their jobs for at least two months will be eligible to apply for the loans. Freelancers with proof of income lost are also eligible.
The loan is capped at either six times an applicant’s last drawn salary, or HK$80,000 (US$10,317) whichever is lower. A 1% annual interest will be charged over five years on the loan.
The government has also set aside HK$6.6 billion (US$851 million) to create around 30,000 fixed-contract jobs, but the city’s unions have reportedly declined to endorse either proposal.